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The Lost Art 
of Read i TIP 

Gerald Stanley Lee 



Mount Tom Edition 
New Edition in Two Volumes 

I. The Child and the Book : 

A Manual for Parents and for Teachers in 
Schools and Colleges 

II. The Lost Art of Reading ; 


Two Volumes, Svo. Sold separately. Each, net. 



Mount Tom Edition 

Lost Art of Reading 


Gerald Stanley Lee 

Author of " The Child and The Book," " The Shadow Christ," and " The 
Voice of the Machine)." 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

Gbe fmicfcerbocfcer press 







Cbe -Rnicfeerbocfeet prcse, flew 





IN publishing this new edition of THE LOST 
ART OF READING, the author feels that it 
ought to be understood that there is noth- 
ing really new in it except a vacuum a hundred 
and sixty pages long. 

It has been thought best to accommodate 
a special demand for that section of THE LOST 
ART OF READING which especially deals with 
the reading problem of children and young 
people by separating it and reprinting it in 
a short and handy volume under the title of 
THE CHILD AND THE BOOK, a manual for 
parents and for teachers and for those who are 
especially interested in the practical difficulties 
and opportunities of schools and colleges. 

The major part of THE LOST ART OF READ- 
ING, however, which deals with the more per- 
sonal, private, grown-up joys and sorrows of 
the modern reader those which belong to all 
of us, struggling to save our souls among the 
books, is herewith published in a volume by 
itself unencumbered by the treatment of the 
special problems of the home and the school. 


September, 1906. 




Ube Cons 
f essions of 


tiflc mint) 






I On Being Intelligent in a library . 91 

II How It Feels 95 

III How a Specialist Can Be an Educated 

Man . . . . .96 

IV On Reading Books Through their Backs loo 

V On Keeping Each Other in Countenance 103 

VI The Romance of Science . . . 106 

VII Monads . . 109 

VIII Multiplication Tables . . . .119 


I On Changing One's Conscience . .121 

II On the Intolerance of Experienced People 124 

III On Having One's Experience Done Out . 127 

IV On Reading a Newspaper in Ten Minutes 131 

V General Information .... 133 

VI But 141 


I Inside ....... 149 

II On Being Lonely with a Book . . 150 














I Dust 


II Dust 


Ill Dust to Dust . ... 


IV Ashes 


V The Literary Rush .... 


VI Parenthesis To the Gentle Reader 


VII More Parenthesis But More to the 



VIII More Literary Rush .... 


IX The Bugbear of Being Well Informed 

A Practical Suggestion 


X The Dead Level of Intelligence . 


XI The Art of Reading as One Likes . 





Hn ofc 

I yj z 





II Cf. 

Ill Btal 

*7 A 

IV Etc 







III Keeping Other Minds Off 
IV Reading Backwards 


I Calling the Meeting to Order 
II Symbolic Facts .... 
Ill Duplicates : A Principle of Economy 


I The Blank Paper Frame of Mind 
II The Usefully Unfinished 
III Athletics 


I The Passion of Truth . 
II The Topical Point of View . 









I Focusing ..... 
II The Human Unit .... 
Ill The Higher Cannibalism 
IV Spiritual Thrift .... 

V The City, the Church, and the College 
VI The Outsiders .... 
VII Reading the World Together 


2 3 I 

Ube dona 

feesions of 


tiflc mind 


TJClbat to 
5>o nert 



I See Next Chapter 
II Diagnosis 
III Eclipse 
IV Apocalypse . 
V Every Man His Own Genius 
VI An Inclined Plane 
VII Allons . 





Book I 
ZTbe /IDofcern IReafcer's Difficulties 



" I SEE the ships," said The Eavesdropper, 

1 as he stole round the world to me, " on 
a dozen sides of the world. I hear them fight- 
ing with the sea." 

"And what do you see on the ships?" I 

" Figures of men and women thousands of 
figures of men and women." 

" And what are they doing ? " 

" The}*- are walking fiercely," he said, 
" some of them, walking fiercely up and down 
the decks before the sea." 

"Why?" said I. 

" Because they cannot stand still and look at 


3Lost Hrt of 

s>ust it. Others are reading in chairs because they 
cannot sit still and look at it." 

' ' And there are some, ' ' said The Eaves- 
dropper, " with roofs of boards above their 
heads (to protect them from Wonder) down 
in the hold playing cards." 

There was silence. 

' ' What are you seeing now ? " I said. 

' ( Trains, ' ' he said ' ' a globe full of trains. 
They are on a dozen sides of it. They are 
clinging to the crusts of it mountains rivers 
prairies some in the light and some in the 
dark creeping through space." 

' ' And what do you see in the trains ? ' ' 

"Miles of faces." 

"And the faces?" 

" They are pushing on the trains." 

' ' What are you seeing now ? " I said. 

' ( Cities, ' ' he said ' ' streets of cities miles 
of streets of cities." 

' ' And what do you see in the streets of 

" Men, women, and smoke." 

* * And what are the men and women doing ? ' ' 

" Hurrying," said he. 

"Where?" said I. 

"God knows." 


The population of the civilised world to- 2?ust 
day may be divided into two classes, mil- 
lionaires and those who would like to be 
millionaires. The rest are artists, poets, 
tramps, and babies and do not count. Poets 
and artists do not count until after they are 
dead. Tramps are put in prison. Babies are 
expected to get over it. A few more summers, 
a few more winters with short skirts or with 
down on their chins they shall be seen bur- 
rowing with the rest of us. 

One almost wonders sometimes, why it is 
that the sun keeps on year after year and day 
after day turning the globe around and around, 
heating it and lighting it and keeping things 
growing on it, when after all, when all is said 
and done (crowded with wonder and with 
things to live with, as it is), it is a compara- 
tively empty globe. No one seems to be using 
it very much, or paying very much attention 
to it, or getting very much out of it. There 
are never more than a very few men on it at a 
time, who can be said to be really living on it. 
They are engaged in getting a living and in 
hoping that they are going to live sometime. 
They are also going to read sometime. 

When one thinks of the wasted sunrises and 
sunsets the great free show of heaven the 

SLost Hrt ot 1ReaMn0 


door open every night of the little groups of 
people straggling into it of the swarms of 
people hurrying back and forth before it, 
jostling their getting-a-living lives up and 
down before it, not knowing it is there, one 
wonders why it is there. Why does it not fall 
upon us, or its lights go suddenly out upon us ? 
We stand in the days and the nights like stalls 
suns flying over our heads, stars singing 
through space beneath our feet. But we do 
not see. Every man's head in a pocket, bor- 
ing for his living in a pocket or being bored 
for his living in a pocket, why should he see ? 
True we are not without a philosophy for this 
to look over the edge of our stalls with. 
" Getting a living is living," we say. We 
whisper it to ourselves in our pockets. Then 
we try to get it. When we get it, we try to 
believe it and when we get it we do not be- 
lieve anything. Let every man under the 
walled-in heaven, the iron heaven, speak for 
his own soul. No one else shall speak for 
him. We only know what we know each of 
us in our own pockets. The great books tell 
us it has not always been an iron heaven or a 
walled-in heaven. But into the faces of the 
flocks of the children that come to us, year 
after year, we look, wondering. They shall 
not do anything but burrowing most of them. 
Our very ideals are burrowings. So are our 
books. Religion burrows. It barely so much 
as looks at heaven. Why should a civilised man 


man who has a pocket in civilisation s>uat 
a man who can burrow look at heaven ? It 
is the glimmering boundary line where burrow- 
ing leaves off. Time enough. In the mean- 
time the shovel. Let the stars wheel. Do 
men look at stars with shovels ? 

The faults of our prevailing habits of read- 
ing are the faults of our lives. Any criticism 
of our habit of reading books to-day, which 
actually or even apparently confines itself to 
the point, is unsatisfactory. A criticism of the 
reading habit of a nation is a criticism of its 
civilisation. To sketch a scheme of defence 
for the modern human brain, from the kinder- 
garten stage to Commencement day, is merely 
a way of bringing the subject of education up, 
and dropping it where it begins. 

Even if the youth of the period, as a live, 
human, reading being (on the principles to be 
laid down in the following pages), is so fortu- 
nate as to succeed in escaping the dangers and 
temptations of the home even if he contrives 
to run the gauntlet of the grammar school and 
the academy even if, in the last, longest, and 
hardest pull of all, he succeeds in keeping a 
spontaneous habit with books in spite of a col- 
lege course, the story is not over. Civilisation 
waits for him all-enfolding, all-instructing 
civilisation, and he stands face to face book 
in hand with his last chance. 

OLost Hrt of 

Dust to Dust 

2>uat Whatever else may be said of our present 

Bust civilisation, one must needs go very far in it to 
see Abraham at his tent's door, waiting for 
angels. And yet, from the point of view of 
reading and from the point of view of the books 
that the world has always called worth read- 
ing, if ever there was a type of a gentleman 
and scholar in history, and a Christian, and a 
man of possibilities, founder and ruler of 
civilisations, it is this same man Abraham 
at his tent's door waiting for angels. Have 
we any like him now ? Perad venture there 
shall be twenty ? Perad venture there shall 
be ten ? Where is the man who feels that 
he is free to-day to sit upon his steps and have 
a quiet think, unless there floats across the 
spirit of his dream the sweet and reassuring 
sound of some one making a tremendous din 
around the next corner a band, or a new liter- 
ary journal, or a historical novel, or a special 
correspondent, or a new club or church or 
something? Until he feels that the world is 
being conducted for him, that things are toler- 
ably not at rest, where shall one find in civili- 
sation, in this present moment, a man who is 
ready to stop and look about him to take a 
spell at last at being a reasonable, contempla- 
tive, or even marriageable being ? 

Bust to Dust 

The essential unmarriageableness of the Dust 
modern man and the unreadableness of his 
books are two facts that work very well to- 

When Emerson asked Bronson Alcott 
1 ' What have you done in the world, what 
have you written ? " the answer of Alcott, " If 
Pythagoras came to Concord whom would he 
ask to see?" was a diagnosis of the whole 
nineteenth century. It was a very short sen- 
tence, but it was a sentence to found a college 
with, to build libraries out of, to make a whole 
modern world read, to fill the weary and heed- 
less heart of it for a thousand years. 

We have plenty of provision made for books 
in civilisation, but if civilisation should ever 
have another man in the course of time who 
knows how to read a book, it would not know 
what to do with him. No provision is made 
for such a man. We have nothing but li- 
braries monstrous libraries to lose him in. 
The books take up nearly all the room in 
civilisation, and civilisation takes up the rest. 
The man is not allowed to peep in civilisation. 
He is too busy in being ordered around by 
it to know that he would like to. It does 
not occur to him that he ought to be allowed 
time in it to know who he is, before he dies. 
The typical civilised man is an exhausted, 
spiritually hysterical man because he has no 
idea of what it means, or can be made to mean 
to a man, to face calmly with his whole life a 

io Xost Hrt ot IReafcing 

Bust great book, a few minutes every day, to rest 
to back on his ideals in it, to keep office hours 
with his own soul. 

The practical value of a book is the inherent 
energy and quietness of the ideals in it the 
immemorial way ideals have have always had 
of working themselves out in a man, of doing 
the work of the man and of doing their own 
work at the same time. 

Inasmuch as ideals are what all real books 
are written with and read with, and inasmuch 
as ideals are the only known way a human 
being has of resting, in this present world, it 
would be hard to think of any book that would 
be more to the point in this modern civilisation 
than a book that shall tell men how to read to 
live, how to touch their ideals swiftly every 
day. Any book that should do this for us 
would touch life at more points and flow out 
on men's minds in more directions than any 
other that could be conceived. It would con- 
tribute as the June day, or as the night for 
sleep, to all men's lives, to all of the problems 
of all of the world at once. It would be a 
night latch to the ideal. 

Whatever the remedy may be said to be, one 
thing is certainly true with regard to our read- 
ing habits in modern times. Men who are 
habitually shamefaced or absent-minded be- 
fore the ideal that is, before the actual nature 
of things cannot expect to be real readers of 
books. They can only be what most men 

Bust to Dust 

are nowadays, merely busy and effeminate, 
rtmning-and-reading sort of men rushing 
about propping up the universe. Men who 
cannot trust the ideal the nature of things, 
and who think they can do better, are natu- 
rally kept very busy, and as they take no time 
to rest back on their ideals they are naturally 
very tired. The result stares at us on every 
hand. Whether in religion, art, education, or 
public affairs, we do not stop to find our ideals 
for the problems that confront us. We do 
not even look at them. Our modern problems 
are all Jerichos to us most of them paper 
ones. We arrange symposiums and processions 
around them and shout at them and march up 
and down before them. Modern prophecy is 
the blare of the trumpet. Modern thought is 
a crowd hurrying to and fro. Civilisation is 
the dust we scuffle in each other's eyes. 

When the peace and strength of spirit with 
which the walls of temples are builded no 
longer dwell in them, the stones crumble. 
Temples are built of eon-gathered and eon- 
rested stones. Infinite nights and days are 
wrought in them, and leisure and splendour 
wait upon them, and visits of suns and stars, 
and when leisure and splendour are no more in 
human beings' lives, and visits of suns and 
stars are as though they were not, in our 
civilisation, the walls of it shall crumble upon 
us. If fulness and leisure and power of living 
are no more with us, nothing shall save us. 




Xost Hrt of 


Walls of encyclopaedias not even walls of 
Bibles shall save us, nor miles of Carnegie- 
library. Empty and hasty and cowardly living 
does not get itself protected from the laws of 
nature by tons of paper and ink. The only 
way out for civilisation is through the practi- 
cal men in it men who grapple daily with 
ideals, who keep office hours with their souls, 
who keep hold of life with books, who take 
enough time out of hurrahing civilisation 
along to live. 

Civilisation has been long in building and 
its splendour still hangs over us, but Parthenons 
do not stand when Parthenons are no longer 
being lived in Greek men's souls. Only those 
who have Coliseums in them can keep Coli- 
seums around them. The Ideal has its own 
way. It has it with the very stones. It was 
an Ideal, a vanished Ideal, that made a moon- 
light scene for tourists out of the Coliseum 
out of the Dead Soul of Rome. 



There seem to be but two fundamental char- 
acteristic sensibilities left alive in the typical, 
callously-civilised man. One of these sensibili- 
ties is the sense of motion and the other is the 
sense of mass. If he cannot be appealed to 
through one of these senses, it is of little use 

Hsbes 13 

to appeal to him at all. In proportion as he 
is civilised, the civilised man can be depended 
on for two things. He can always be touched 
by a hurry of any kind, and he never fails to 
be moved by a crowd. If he can have hurry 
and crowd together, he is capable of almost 
anything. These two sensibilities, the sense 
of motion and the sense of mass, are all that is 
left of the original, lusty, tasting and seeing 
and feeling human being who took possession 
of the earth. And even in the case of com- 
paratively rudimentary and somewhat stupid 
senses like these, the sense of motion, with the 
average civilised man, is so blunt that he needs 
to be rushed along at seventy miles an hour to 
have the feeling that he is moving, and his 
sense of mass is so degenerate that he needs to 
live with hundreds of thousands of people next 
door to know that he is not alone. He is seen 
in his most natural state, this civilised being, 
with most of his civilisation around him, in 
the seat of an elevated railway train, with a 
crowded newspaper before his eyes, and another 
crowded newspaper in his lap, and crowds of 
people reading crowded newspapers standing 
round him in the aisles; but he can never be 
said to be seen at his best, in a spectacle like 
this, until the spectacle moves, until it is felt 
rushing over the sky of the street, puffing 
through space; in which delectable pell-mell 
and carnival of hurry hiss in front of it, shriek 
under it, and dust behind it he finds, to all 


3Lost Hrt ot 

appearances at least, the meaning of this present 
world and the hope of the next. Hurry and 
crowd have kissed each other and his soul 
rests. " If Abraham sitting in his tent door 
waiting for angels had been visited by a spec- 
tacle like this and invited to live in it all his 
days, would he not have climbed into it cheer- 
fully enough ? " asks the modern man. Living 
in a tent would have been out of the question, 
and waiting for angels waiting for anything, 
in fact forever impossible. 

Whatever else may be said of Abraham, his 
waiting for angels was the making of him, and 
the making of all that is good in what has fol- 
lowed since. The man who hangs on a strap 
up in the morning and down at night, hurry- 
ing between the crowd he sleeps with and the 
crowd he works with, to the crowd that hurries 
no more, even this man, such as he is, with 
all his civilisation roaring about him, would 
have been impossible if Abraham in the stately 
and quiet days had not waited at his tent door 
for angels to begin a civilisation with, or if he 
had been the kind of Abraham that expected 
that angels would come hurrying and scurry- 
ing after one in a spectacle like this. " What 
has a man," says Blank in his Angels of the 
Nineteenth Century, "What has a man who 
consents to be a knee-bumping, elbow- jam- 
ming, foothold-struggling strap-hanger an 
abject commuter all his days (for no better 
reason than that he is not well enough to keep 



still and that there is not enough of him to be 
alone) to do with angels or to do with any- 
thing, except to get done with it as fast as he 
can ? " So say we all of us, hanging on straps 
to say it, swaying and swinging to oblivion. 
1 ' Is there no power, ' ' says Blank, ' ' in heaven 
above or earth beneath that will help us to 

If a civilisation is founded on two senses 
the sense of motion and the sense of mass, 
one need not go far to find the essential traits 
of its literature and its daily reading habit. 
There are two things that such a civilisation 
makes sure of in all its concerns hurry and 
crowd. Hence the spectacle before us the 
literary rush and mobs of books. 


literar? 1Ru0b 

The present writer, being occasionally ad- 
dicted (like the reader of this book) to a seemly 
desire to have the opinions of some one besides 
the author represented, has fallen into the way 
of having interviews held with himself from 
time to time, which are afterwards published at 
his own request. These interviews appear in 
the public prints as being between a Mysterious 
Person and The Presiding Genius of the State of 
Massachusetts. The author can only earnestly 
hope that in thus generously providing for an 




Xost Hrt ot 




opposing point of view, in taking, as it were, 
the words of the enemy upon his lips, he will 
lose the sympathy of the reader. The Mys- 
terious Person is in colloquy with The Presid- 
ing Genius of the State of Massachusetts. As 
The P. G. S. of M. lives relentlessly at his 
elbow dogs every day of his life, it is hoped 
that the reader will make allowance for a cer- 
tain impatient familiarity in the tone of The 
Mysterious Person toward so considerable a 
personage as The Presiding Genius of the State 
of Massachusetts which we can only pro- 
foundly regret. 

The Mysterious Person : * ' There is no escap- 
ing from it. Reading-madness is a thing we 
all are breathing in to-day whether we will or 
no, and it is not only in the air, but it is worse 
than in the air. It is underneath the founda- 
tions of the things in which we live and on 
which we stand. It has infected the very 
character of the natural world, and the move- 
ment of the planets, and the whirl of the globe 
beneath our feet. Without its little paling of 
books about it, there is hardly a thing that is 
left in this modern world a man can go to for 
its own sake. Except by stepping off the 
globe, perhaps, now and then practically 
arranging a world of one's own, and breaking 
with one's kind, the life that a man must live 
to-day can only be described as a kind of eter- 
nal parting with himself. There is getting to 
be no possible way for a man to preserve his 

TTbe Sliterarg IRusb 

five spiritual senses even his five physical 
ones and be a member, in good and regular 
standing, of civilisation at the same time. 

" If civilisation and human nature are to 
continue to be allowed to exist together there 
is but one way out, apparently an extra 
planet for all of us, one for a man to live on 
and the other for him to be civilised on." 

P. G. S. of M.: "But " 

"As long as we, who are the men and women 
of the world, are willing to continue our pres- 
ent fashion of giving up living in order to get 
a living, one planet will never be large enough 
for us. If we can only get our living in one 
place and have it to live with in another, the 
question is, To whom does this present planet 
belong the people who spend their days in 
living into it and enjoying it, or the people 
who never take time to notice the planet, who 
do not seem to know that they are living on a 
planet at all ?" 

P. G. S. of M.: "But " 

" I may not be very well informed on very 
many things, but I am very sure of one of 
them," said The Mysterious Person, " and that 
is, that this present planet this one we are 
living on now belongs b}' all that is fair and 
just to those who are really living on it, and 
that it should be saved and kept as a sacred 
and protected place a place where men shall 
be able to belong to the taste and colour and 
meaning of things and to God and to them- 




SLost Hrt of 1Reafcin0 



selves. If people want another planet a 
planet to belong to Society on, let them go 
out and get it. 

* ' L,ook at our literature current literature. 
It is a mere headlong, helpless literary rush 
from beginning to end. All that one can ex- 
tract from it is getting to be a kind of general 
sound of going. We began gently enough. 
We began with the annual. We had Poor 
Richard's Almanac. Then we had the quar- 
terly. A monthly was reasonable enough in 
course of time; so we had monthlies. Then 
the semi-monthly came to ease our liter- 
ary nerves; and now the weekly magazine 
stumbles, rapt and wistful, on the heels of men 
of genius. It makes contracts for prophecy. 
Unborn poems are sold in the open market. 
The latest thoughts that thinkers have, the 
trend of the thoughts they are going to have 
the public makes demand for these. It gets 
them. Then it cries ' More! More! ' Where 
is the writer who does not think with the 
printing-press hot upon his track, and the 
sound of the pulp-mill making paper for his 
poems, and the buzz of editors, instead of the 
music of the spheres ? Think of the destruc- 
tion to American forests, the bare and glaring 
hills that face us day and night, all for a liter- 
ature like this thousands of square miles of it, 
spread before our faces, morning after morn- 
ing, week after week, through all this broad 
and glorious land ! Seventy million souls 

ZIbe 3Literar TCusb 

brothers of yours and mine walking through 
prairies of pictures Sunday after Sunday, flick- 
ered at by head-lines, deceived by adjectives, 
each with his long day's work, column after 
column, sentence after sentence, plodding 
plodding plodding down to . My geo- 
graphy may be wrong ; the general direction is 

" But don't you believe in newspapers? " 

''Why, yes, in the abstract; newspapers. 
But we do not have any news nowadays. It is 
not news to know a thing before it 's happened, 
nor is it news to know what might happen, or 
why it might happen, or why it might not 
happen. To be told that it does n't make 
any difference whether it happens at all, 
would be news, perhaps, to many people 
such news as there is; but it is hardly 
worth while to pay three cents to be sure of 
that. An intelligent man can be sure of it for 
nothing. He has been sure of it every morn- 
ing for years. It 's the gist of most of the 
newspapers he reads. From the point of view 
of what can be called truly vital information, 
in any larger sense, the only news a daily 
paper has is the date at the top of the page. 
If a man once makes sure of that, if he feels 
from the bottom of his heart what really good 
news it is that one more day is come in a world 
as beautiful as this, the rest of it " 

P. G. S. of M.: "But " 

" The rest of it, if it 's true, is hardly worth 





OLost Hrt ot 



knowing; and if it 's worth knowing, it can be 
found better in books; and if it 's not true 
1 Every man his own liar ' is my motto. He 
might as well have the pleasure of it, and he 
knows how much to believe. The same lung- 
ing, garrulous, blindly busy habit is the law of 
all we do. Take our literary critical journals. 
If a critic can not tell what he sees at once, he 
must tell what he fails to see at once. The 
point is not his seeing or not seeing, nor any- 
body's seeing or not seeing. The point is the 
imperative ' at once.' Literature is getting to 
be the filling of orders time-limited orders. 
Criticism is out of a car window. Book re- 
views are telegraphed across the sea (Tenny- 
son's memoirs). The (Daily) (a 

spectacle for Homer !) begins a magazine to ' re- 
view in three weeks every book of permanent 
value that is published' one of the gravest 
and most significant blows at literature one 
of the gravest and most significant signs of the 
condition of letters to-day that could be con- 
ceived ! Three weeks, man ! As if a * book of 
permanent value ' had ever been recognised, as 
yet, in three years, or reviewed in thirty years 
(in any proper sense), or mastered in three 
hundred years with all the hurrying of this 
hurrying world ! We have no book-reviewers. 
Why should we? Criticism begins where a 
man's soul leaves off. It comes from bril- 
liantly-defective minds, so far as one can see, 
from men of attractively imperfect sympa- 

Literary TCusb 

thies. Nordau, working himself into a mighty 
wrath because mystery is left out of his soul, 
gathering adjectives about his loins, stalks this 
little fluttered modern world, puts his huge, 
fumbling, hippopotamus hoof upon the Blessed 
Damozel, goes crashing through the press. He 
is greeted with a shudder of delight. Even 
Matthew Arnold, a man who had a way of see- 
ing things almost, sometimes, criticises Kmer- 
son for lack of unity, because the unity was on 
so large a scale that Arnold's imagination could 
not see it ; and now the chirrup from afar, ris- 
ing from the east and the west, ' Why doesn't 
George Meredith ? ' etc. People want him to 
put guide-posts in his books, apparently, or 

before his sentences : * TO ' or ' TEN MILKS 

TO THE NEAREST VERB' the inevitable fate of 
any writer, man or woman, who dares to ask, 
in this present day, that his reader shall stop 
to think. If a man cannot read as he runs, he 
does not read a book at all. The result is, he 
ought to run ; that is natural enough ; and the 
faster he runs, in most books, the better." 

At this point The Mysterious Person reached 
out his long arm from his easy-chair to some 
papers that were lying near. I knew too well 
what it meant. He began to read. (He is 
always breaking over into manuscript when he 

" We are forgetting to see. Looking is a 
lost art. With our poor, wistful, straining 
eyes, we hurry along the days that slowly, 




Xost Hrt of 



out of the rest of heaven, move their stillness 
across this little world. The more we hurry, 
the more we read. Night and noon and morn- 
ing the panorama passes before our eyes. By 
tables, on cars, and in the street we see them 
readers, readers everywhere, drinking their 
blindness in. Life is a blur of printed paper. 
We see no more the things themselves. We 
see about them. We lose the power to see 
the things themselves. We see in sentences. 
The linotype looks for us. We know the 
world in columns. The sounds of the street 
are muffled to us. In papers up to our ears, 
we whirl along our endless tracks. The faces 
that pass are phantoms. In our little wood- 
cut head-line dream we go ceaseless on, turning 
leaves, days and weeks and months of leaves, 
wherever we go years of leaves. Boys who 
never have seen the sky above them, young 
men who have never seen it in a face, old men 
who have never looked out at sea across a 
crowd, nor guessed the horizons there dead 
men, the flicker of life in their hands, not yet 
beneath the roofs of graves all turning 
leaves. ' ' 

The Mysterious Person stopped. Nobody 
said anything. It is the better way, generally, 
with The Mysterious Person. We were begin- 
ning to feel as if he were through, when his 

eye fell on a copy of The , lying on the 

floor. It was open at an unlucky page. 

" Look at that! " said he. He handed the 

ZTbe Xiterars IRusb 

paper to The P. G. S. of M., pointing with his 
finger, rather excitedly. The P. G. S. of M. 
looked at it read it through. Then he put it 
down; The Mysterious Person went on. 

"Do you not know what it means when you, 
a civilised, cultivated, converted human being, 
can stand face to face with a list a list like 
that a list headed ' BOOKS OF THE wKKK ' 
when, unblinking and shameless, and without 
a cry of protest, you actually read it through, 
without seeing, or seeming to see, for a single 
moment that right there right there in that 
list the fact that there is such a list your 
civilisation is on trial for its life that any 
society or nation or century that is shallow 
enough to publish as many books as that has 
yet to face the most awful, the most unpre- 
cedented, the most headlong-coming crisis in 
the history of the human race ? " 

The Mysterious Person made a pause the 
pause of settling things. [There are people 
who seem to think that the only really ade- 
quate way to settle a thing, in this world, is 
for them to ask a question about it.] 

At all events The Mysterious Person having 
asked a question at this point, everybody 
might as well have the benefit of it. 

In the meantime, it is to be hoped that in 
the next chapter The Presiding Genius of the 
State of Massachusetts, or somebody will get 
a word in. 



Xost Hrt of 1ReaMn0 



tbe (Bentle IReaber 

This was a footnote at first. It is placed at 
the top of the page in the hope that it will 
point at itself more and let the worst out at 
once. I want to say I a little in this 

I do not propose to do it very often. Indeed 
I am not sure just now, that I shall be able to 
do it at all, but I would like to have the feel- 
ing as I go along that arrangements have been 
made for it, and that it is all understood, and 
that if I am fairly good about it ring a little 
bell or something and warn people, I am 
going to be allowed right here in my own 
book at least to say I when I want to. 

I is the way I feel on the inside about this 
subject. Anybody can see it. And I want to 
be honest, in the first place, and in the second 
place (like a good many other people) I never 
have had what could be called a real good 
chance to say I in this world, and I feel that 
if I had somehow, it would cure me. 

I have tried other ways. I have tried call- 
ing myself he. I have stated my experiences 
in principles called myself it, and in the first 
part of this book I have already fallen into the 
way page after page of borrowing other 
people, when all the time I knew perfectly well 


(and everybody) that I preferred myself. At all 
events this calling one's self names now one 
and now another, working one's way incog - 
nito, all the way through one's own book, is 
not making me as modest as I had hoped. 
There seems to be nothing for it with some 
of us, but to work through to modesty the 
other way backward I it out. 

There is one other reason. This Mysterious 
Person I have arranged with in these opening 
chapters, to say I for me, does not seem to me 
to be doing it very well. I think any one any 
fairly observing person would admit that I 
could do it better, and if it 's going to be done 
at all, why should a mere spiritual machine a 
kind of moral phonograph like this Mysterious 
Person be put forward to take the ignominy 
of it ? I have set my * ' I " up before me and 
duly cross-examined it. I have said to it, 
' * Either you are good enough to say I in a 
book or you are not, ' ' and my ' ' I " has replied 
to me, " If I am not, I want everybody to know 

why and if I am am . ' ' Well of course he 

is not, and we will all help him to know why. 
We will do as we would be done by. If there 
is ever going to be any possible comfort in this 
world for me, in not being what I ought to be, 
it is the thought that I am not the only one that 
knows it. At all events, this feeling that the 
worst is known, even if one takes, as I am 
doing now, a planet for a confessional, gives 
one a luxurious sense a sense of combined 


to tbe 


OLost Hrt ot IReabing 


safety and irresponsibility which would not be 
exchanged for a world. 

Every book should have I-places in it 
breathing-holes places where one's soul can 
come up to the surface and look out through 
the ice and say things. I do not wish to seem 
superior and I will admit that I am as respect- 
able as anybody in most places, but I do think 
that if half the time I am devoting, and am 
going to devote, to appearing as modest as 
people expect in this world, could be devoted 
to really doing something in it, my little 
modesty such as it is would not be missed. 
At all events I am persuaded that anything 
almost anything would be better than this 
eternal keeping up appearances of all being a 
little less interested in ourselves than we are, 
which is what literature and Society are for, 
mostly. We all do it, more or less. And yet 
if there were only a few scattered-along places, 
public soul-open places to rest in, and be honest 
in (in art-parlours and teas and things) 
would n't we see people rushing to them? I 
would give the world sometimes to believe that 
it would pay to be as honest with some people 
as with a piece of paper or with a book. 

I dare say I am all wrong in striking out and 
flourishing about in a chapter like this, and in 
threatening to have more like them, but there 
is one comfort I lay to my soul in doing it. If 
there is one thing rather than another a book 
is for (one's own book) it is, that it furnishes 

parentbesis 27 

the one good, fair, safe place for a man to talk 
about himself in, because it is the only place 
that any one absolutely any one, at any mo- 
nient, can shut him up. 

This is not saying that I am going to do it. 
My courage will go from me (for saying I, I 
mean). Or I shall not be humble enough or 
something and it all will pass away. I am 
going to do it now, a little, but I cannot guar- 
antee it. All of a sudden, no telling when or 
why, I shall feel that Mysterious Person with 
all his worldly trappings hanging around me 
again and before I know it, before you know 
it, Gentle Reader, I with all my I (or i) shall 
be swallowed up. Next time I appear, you 
shall see me, decorous, trim, and in the third 
person, my literary white tie on, snooping 
along through these sentences one after the 
other, crossing my I's out, wishing I had never 
been born. 

Postscript. I cannot help recording at this 
point, for the benefit of reckless persons, how 
saying I in a book feels. It feels a good deal 
like a very small boy in a very high swing 
a kind of flashing-of-everything through- 
nothing feeling, but it cannot be undone now, 
and so if you please, Gentle Reader, and if 
everybody will hold their breath, I am going 
to hold on tight and do it. 


Xost Hrt of IReafcing 

/IDorc ff> 

36ut dftore 
to tbe 


flDore parentbeeie But fIDore to 
tbe ipoint 

I have gotten into a way lately, while I am 
just living along, of going out and taking a 
good square turn every now and then, in front 
of myself. It is not altogether an agreeable 
experience, but there seems to be a window in 
every man's nature on purpose for it arranged 
and located on purpose for it, and I find on the 
whole that going out around one's window, 
once in so often, and standing awhile has 
advantages. The general idea is to stand 
perfectly still for a little time, in a kind of 
general, public, disinterested way, and then 
suddenly, when one is off one's guard and not 
looking, so to speak, take a peek backwards 
into one's self. 

I am aware that it does not follow, because I 
have just come out and have been looking into 
my window, that I have a right to hold up any 
person or persons who may be going by in 
this book, and ask them to look in too, but at 
the same time I cannot conceal do not wish 
to conceal, even if I could that there have 
been times, standing in front of my window 
and looking in, when what I have seen there 
has seemed to me to assume a national signifi- 

There are millions of other windows like it. 

/IDore parenthesis 

It is one of the daily sorrows of my life that the 
people who own them do not seem to know it 
most of them except perhaps in a vague, 
hurried pained way. Sometimes I feel like 
calling out to them as I stand by my window 
see them go hurrying by on The Great Street: 
"Say there, Stranger! Halloa, Stranger! 
Want to see yourself ? Come right over here 
and look at me ! ' ' 

Nobody believes it, of course. It 's a good 
deal like standing and waving one's arms in 
the Midway being an egotist, but I must say, 
I have never got a man yet got him in out of 
the rush, I mean, right up in front of my win- 
dow got him once stooped down and really 
looking in there, but he admitted there was 
something in it. 

Thus does it come to pass this gentle swell- 
ing. Let me be a warning to you, Gentle 
Reader, when you once get to philosophising 
yourself over (along the line of your faults) 
into the disputed territory of the First Person 
Singular. I am not asking you to try to be- 
lieve my little philosophy of types. I am try- 
ing to, in my humble way, to be sure, but I 
would rather, on the whole, let it go. It is 
not so much my philosophy- I rest my case 
on, as my sub-philosophy or religion viz., I 
like it and believe in it saying I. (Thank 
Heaven that, bad as it is, I have struck bottom 
at last !) The best I can do under the circum- 
stances, I suppose, is to beg (in a perfectly 

3Gut /IDorc 




SLost Hrt of 


ffiut /iDore 



blank way) forgiveness forgiveness of any and 
every kind from everybody, if in this and the 
following chapters I fall sometimes to talking 
of people people at large under the general 
head of myself. 

I was born to read. I spent all my early 
years, as I remember them, with books, peer- 
ing softly about in them. My whole being 
was hushed and trustful and expectant at the 
sight of a printed page. I lived in the presence 
of books, with all my thoughts lying open 
about me; a kind of still, radiant mood of wel- 
come seemed to lie upon them. When I 
looked at a shelf of books I felt the whole 
world flocking to me. 

I have been civilised now, I should say, 
twenty, or possibly twenty-five, years. At 
least every one supposes I am civilised, and 
my whole being has changed. I cannot so 
much as look upon a great many books in a 
library or any other heaped-up place, without 
feeling bleak and heartless. I never read if I 
can help it. My whole attitude toward current 
literature is grouty and snappish, a kind of 
perpetual interrupted ' ' What are you ringing 
my door-bell now f or ? " attitude. I am a 
disagreeable character. I spend at least one 
half my time, I should judge, keeping things 
off, in defending my character. Then I spend 
the other half in wondering if, after all, it was 
worth it. What I see in my window has 

/Ifoore parentbests 

changed. When I used to go out around and 
look into it, in the old days, to see what I was 
like, I was a sunny, open valley streams and 
roads and everything running down into it, 
and opening out of it, and when I go out sud- 
denly now, and turn around in front of myself 
and look in I am a mountain pass. I sift 
my friends up a trail. The few friends that 
come, come a little out of breath (God bless 
them !), and a book cannot so much as get to 
me except on a mule's back. 

It is by no means an ideal arrangement a 
mountain pass, but it is better than always 
sitting in one's study in civilisation, where 
every passer-by, pamphlet, boy in the street, 
thinks he might just as well come up and ring 
one's door-bell awhile. All modern books are 
book agents at heart, around getting subscrip- 
tions for themselves. If a man wants to be 
sociable or literary nowadays, he can only do 
it by being a more or less disagreeable char- 
acter, and if he wishes to be a beautiful charac- 
ter, he must go off and do it by himself. 

This is a mere choice in suicides. 

The question that presses upon me is : Whose 
fault is it that a poor wistful, incomplete, hu- 
man being, born into this huge dilemma of a 
world, can only keep on having a soul in it, by 
keeping it (that is, his soul) tossed back and 
forth now in one place where souls are lost, 
and now in another ? Is it your fault, or mine, 
Gentle Reader, that we are obliged to live in 

3i5ut UDore 



3 2 

OLost Hrt ot IReafcing 

/ore pa* 
Tout /iRore 



this undignified, obstreperous fashion in what is 
called civilisation ? I cannot believe it. Nearly 
all the best people one knows can be seen sitting 
in civilisation on the edge of their chairs, or 
hurrying along with their souls in satchels. 

There is but one conclusion. Civilisation is 
not what it is advertised to be. Every time I 
see a fresh missionary down at the steamer 
wharf, as I do sometimes, starting away for 
other lands, loaded up with our Institutions to 
the eyes, Church in one hand and Schoolhouse 
in the other, trim, happy, and smiling over 
them, at everybody, I feel like stepping up to 
him and saying, what seem to me, a few ap- 
propriate words. I seldom do it, but the other 
day when I happened to be down at the Umbria 
dock about sailing-time, I came across one (a 
foreign missionary, I mean) pleasant, thought- 
less, and benevolent-looking, standing there all 
by himself by the steamer-rail, and I thought 
I would try speaking to him. 

' ' Where are you going to be putting 
those ? " I said, pointing to a lot of funny little 
churches and funny little schoolhouses he was 
holding in both hands. 

" From Greenland's icy mountains to India's 
coral strand," he said. 

I looked at them a minute. "You don't 
think, do you? " I said " You don't really 
think you had better wait over a little bring 
them back and let us finish them for you, do 
you ? one or two samples ? " I said. 

/iDore iparentbesis 


He looked at me with what seemed to me at 
first, a kind of blurred, helpless look. I soon 
saw that he was pitying me and I promptly 
stepped down to the dining-saloon and tried to 
appreciate two or three tons of flowers. 

I do not wish to say a word against mission- 
aries. They are merely apt to be somewhat 
heedless, morally-hurried persons, rushing 
about the world turning people (as they think) 
right side up everywhere, without really noti- 
cing them much, but I do think that a great 
deliberate corporate body like The American 
Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions 
ought to be more optimistic about the Church 
wait and work for it a little more, expect a 
little more of it. 

It seems to me that it ought to be far less 
pessimistic than it is, also, about what we can 
do in the way of schools and social life in 
civilisation and about civilisation's way of 
doing business. Is our little knack of Christi- 
anity (I find myself wondering) quite worthy 
of all this attention it is getting from The 
American Board of Commissioners of Foreign 
Missions ? Why should it approve of civilisa- 
tion with a rush ? Does any one really suppose 
that it is really time to pat it on the back yet ? 
to spend a million dollars a year patting it 
on the back ? 

I merely throw out the question. 

JBut /move 




OLost Hrt of 




fIDore literary IRusb 

We had been talking along, in our Club, as 
usual, for some time, on the general subject of 
the world fixing the blame for things. We 
had come to the point where it was nearly all 
fixed (most of it on other people) when I 
thought I might as well put forward my little 
theory that nearly everything that was the 
matter, could be traced to the people who 
"belong to Society." 

Then The P. G. S. of M. (who is always 
shoving a dictionary around in front of him 
when he talks) spoke up and said : 

1 ' But who belongs to Society ? ' ' 

' ' All persons who read what they are told to 
and who call where they can't help it. What 
this world needs just now," I went on, looking 
The P. G. S. of M. as much in the eye as I 
could, ' * is emancipation. It needs a prophet 
a man who can gather about him a few 
brave-hearted, intelligently ignorant men, who 
shall go about with their beautiful feet on the 
mountains, telling the good tidings of how 
many things there are we do not need to know. 
The prejudice against being ignorant is largely 
because people have not learned how to do it. 
The wrong people have taken hold of it." 

I cannot remember the exact words of what 
was said after this, but I said that it seemed to me 

/IDore 3Literar IRusb 


that most people were afraid not to know every- 
thing. Not knowing too much is a natural 
gift, and unless a man can make his ignorance 
contagious inspire people with the books he 
dares not read of course the only thing he 
can do is to give up and read everything, and 
belong to Society. He certainly cannot belong 
to himself unless he protects himself with well- 
selected, carefully guarded, daring ignorance. 
Think of the books the books that are dic- 
tated to us the books that will not let a man 
go, and behind every book a hundred intelli- 
gent men and women one's friends, too 
one's own kin 

P. G. S. of M.: "But the cultured man 
must " 

The cultured man is the man who can tell 
me what he does not know, with such grace 
that I feel ashamed of knowing it. 

Now there 's M , for example. Other 

people seem to read to talk, but I never see 
him across a drawing-room without an impulse 
of barbarism, and I always get him off into a 
corner as soon as I can, if only to rest myself 
to feel that I have a right not to read every- 
thing. He always proves to me something 
that I can get along without. He is full of the 
most choice and picturesque bits of ignorance. 
He is creatively ignorant. He displaces a 
book every time I see him which is a deal 
better in these days than writing one. A 
man should be measured by his book-displace- 




3Lost Hrt of 



ment. He goes about with his thinking face, 
and a kind of nimbus over him, of never need- 
ing to read at all. He has nothing whatever 
to give but himself, but I had rather have one 
of his questions about a book I had read, than 
all the other opinions and subtle distinctions 
in the room or the book itself. 

P. G. S. of M. " But the cultured man 
must ' ' 

NOT. It is the very essence of a cultured 
man that when he hears the word * ' must ' ' it 
is on his own lips. It is the very essence of 
his culture that he says it to himself. His 
culture is his belonging to himself, and his be- 
longing to himself is the first condition of his 
being worth giving to other people. One longs 
for Klia. People know too much, and there 
does n't seem to be a man living who can 
charm them from the error of their way. 
Knowledge takes the place of everything else, 
and all one can do in this present day as he 
reads the reviews and goes to his club, is to 
look forward with a tired heart to the prophecy 
of Scripture, " Knowledge shall pass away." 

Where do we see the old and sweet content 
of loving a thing for itself? Now, there are 
the flowers. The only way to delight in a 
flower at your feet in these days is to watch 
with it all alone, or keep still about it. The 
moment you speak of it, it becomes botany. 
It 's a rare man who will not tell you all he 
knows about it. Love is n't worth anything 



without a. classic name. It 's a wonder we 
have any flowers left. Half the charm of a 
flower to me is that it looks demure and talks 
perfume and keeps its name so gently to itself. 
The man who always enjoys views by pick- 
ing out the places he knows, is a symbol of all 
our reading habits and of our national relation 
to books. One can glory in a great cliff down 
in the depths of his heart, but if you mention 
it, it is geology, and an argument. Even the 
birds sing zoologically, and as for the sky, it 
has become a mere blue-and-gold science, and 
all the wonder seems to be confined to one's 
not knowing the names of the planets. I was 
brought up wistfully on 

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, 
How I wonder what you are. 

But now it is become: 

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, 
Teacher's told me what you are. 

Even babies won't wonder very soon. That 
is to say, they won't wonder out loud. No- 
body does. Another of my poems was : 

Where did you come from, baby dear ? 
Out of the everywhere into here. 

I thought of it the other day when I stepped 
into the library with the list of books I had to 
have an opinion about before Mrs. W 's 




Xost Hrt of 



Thursday Afternoon, 

I felt like a literary 

Where did you come from, baby fair? 
Out of the here into everywhere. 

And the bookcases stared at me. 

It is a serious question whether the average 
American youth is ever given a chance to thirst 
for knowledge. He thirsts for ignorance in- 
stead. From the very first he is hemmed in 
by knowledge. The kindergarten with its 
suave relentlessness, its perfunctory cheerful- 
ness, closes in upon the life of every child with 
himself. The dear old-fashioned breathing 
spell he used to have after getting here 
whither has it gone ? The rough, strong, ruth- 
less, unseemly, grown-up world crowds to the 
very edge of every beginning life. It has no 
patience with trailing clouds of glory. Flocks 
of infants every year new-comers to this planet 
who can but watch them sadly, huddled 
closer and closer to the little strip of wonder 
that is left near the land from which they 
came ? No lingering away from us. No in- 
finite holiday. Childhood walks a precipice 
crowded to the brink of birth. We tabulate its 
moods. We register its learning inch by inch. 
We draw its poor little premature soul out of 
its body breath by breath. Infants are well 
informed now. The suckling has nerves. A 
few days more he will be like all the rest of 
us. It will be : 

/IDore OLiterars IRusb 


Poem: " When I Was Weaned." 

" My First Tooth: A Study." 

The Presiding Genius of the State of Massa- 
chusetts, with his dazed, kind look, looked up 
and said : * ' I fear, my dear fellow, there is no 
place for you in the world." 

Thanks. One of the delights of going fish- 
ing or hunting is, that one learns how small 
"a place in the world" is comes across so 
many accidentally preserved characters pre- 
served by not having a place in the world 
persons that are interesting to be with persons 
you can tell things. 

The real object it seems to me in meeting 
another human being is complement fitting 
into each other's ignorances. Sometimes it 
seems as if it were only where there is some- 
thing to be caught or shot, or where there is 
plenty of room, that the highest and most 
sociable and useful forms of ignorance were 
allowed to mature. 

One can still find such fascinating prejudices, 
such frank enthusiasms of ignorance, where 
there 's good fishing; and then, in the stray 
hamlets, there is the grave whimsicalness and 
the calm superior air of austerity to cultured 

Ah, let me live in the Maine woods or wan- 
der by the brooks of Virginia, and rest my 
soul in the delights in the pomposity of 
ignorance ignorance in its pride and glory 
and courage and lovableness! I never come 


OLost Hrt of 




back from a vacation without a dream of what 
I might have been, if I had only dared to know 
a little less; and even now I sometimes feel I 
have ignorance enough, if like BHa, for in- 
stance, I only knew how to use it, but I cannot 
as much as get over being ashamed of it. I 
am nearly gone. I have little left but the gift 
of being bored. That is something but 
hardly a day passes without my slurring over 
a guilty place in conversation, without my 
hiding my ignorance under a bushel, where I 
can go later and take a look at it by myself. 
Then I know all about it next time and sink 
lower and lower. A man can do nothing 
alone. Of course, ignorance must be natural 
and not acquired in order to have the true ring 
and afford the most relief in the world; but 
every wide-awake village that has thoughtful 
people enough people who are educated up to 
it ought to organise an Ignoramus Club to 

defend the town from papers and books . 

It was at about this point that The Presiding 
Genius of the State of Massachusetts took 
up the subject, and after modulating a little 
and then modulating a little more, he was soon 
listening to himself about a book we had not 
read, and I sat in my chair and wrote out this. 

Ube Bugbear of Being Well flnformefc 


Gbe Bugbear of Being Well Tin* 
formeb B practical Suggestion 

i. This Club shall be known as the Igno- 
ramus Club of . 

4. Every member shall be pledged not to 
read the latest book until people have stopped 
expecting it. 

5. The Club shall have a Standing Commit- 
tee that shall report at every meeting on New 
Things That People Do Not Need to Know. 

6. It shall have a Public Library Committee, 
appointed every year, to look over the books 
in regular order and report on Old Things That 
People Do Not Need to Know. (Committee 
instructed to keep the library as small as pos- 

8. No member (vacations excepted) shall 
read any book that he would not read twice. 
In case he does, he shall be obliged to read it 
twice or pay a fine (three times the price of 
book, net). 

11. The Club shall meet weekly. 

12. Any person of suitable age shall be 
eligible for membership in the Club, who, after 
a written examination in his deficiencies, shall 
appear, in the opinion of the Examining Board, 
to have selected his ignorance thoughtfully, 
conscientiously, and for the protection of his 


formed H 

%ost Hrt of IReafcfng 


3Bugbeav of 

TWleH 1Tn= 
formes H 


13. All persons thus approved shall be voted 
upon at the next regular meeting of the Club 
the vote to be taken by ballot (any candidate 
who has not read When Knighthood Was in 
Flower ; or Audrey, or David Harum by ac- 

Perhaps I have quoted from the by-laws 
sufficiently to give an idea of the spirit and 
aim of the Club. I append the order of meet- 

1. Called to order. 

2. Reports of Committees. 

3. General Confession (what members have 
read during the week). 

4. FINES. 

5. Review: Books I Have Escaped. 

6. Essay: Things Plato Did Not Need to 

7. Omniscience. Helpful Hints. Remedies. 

8. The Description Evil; followed by an 

9. Not Travelling on the Nile: By One Who 
Has Been There. 

10. Our Village Street : Stereopticon. 

11. What Not to Know about Birds. 

12. Myself through an Opera-Glass. 

13. Sonnet: Botany. 

14. Essay: Proper Treatment of Paupers, 
Insane, and Instructive People. 

15. The Fad for Facts. 

16. How to Organise a Club against Clubs. 

Bugbear of Being Well Unformed 


17. Paper: How to Humble Him Who Asks, 
' 'Have You Read ?" 

1 8. Essay, by youngest member: Infinity. 
An Appreciation. 

19. Review: The Heavens in a Nutshell. 

20. Review. Wild Animals I Do Not Want 
to Know. 

21. Exercise in Silence. (Ten Minutes. 
Entire Club.) 

22. Essay (Ten Minutes) : Encyclopedia Bri- 
tannica, Summary. 

23. Exercise in Wondering about Some- 
thing. (Selected. Ten Minutes. Entire Club.) 

24. Debate: Which Is More Deadly the 
Pen or the Sword ? 

25. Things Said To-Night That We Must 

26. ADJOURNMENT. (Each member re- 
quired to walk home alone looking at the stars.) 

I have sometimes thought I would like to go 
off to some great, wide, bare, splendid place 
nothing but Time and Room in it and read 
awhile. I would want it built in the same 
general style and with the same general effect 
as the universe, but a universe in which every- 
thing lets one alone, in which everything just 
goes quietly on in its great still round, letting 
itself be looked at no more said about it, 
nothing to be done about it. No exclamations 
required. No one standing around explaining 
things or showing how they appreciated them. 


JSugbeav of 

Ttdetl In* 

formed H 



3Lost Hrt of 


Bugbear of 

Udell flti= 
formefc R 


Then after I had looked about a little, seen 
that everything was safe and according to 
specifications, I think the first thing I would 
do would be to sit down and see if I could not 
read a great book the way I used to read a 
great book, before I belonged to civilisation, 
read it until I felt my soul growing softly 
toward it, reaching up to the day and to the 
night with it. 

I have always kept on hoping that I would 
be allowed, in spite of being somewhat mixed 
up with civilisation, to be a normal man some- 
time. It has always seemed to me that the 
normal man the highly organised man in all 
ages, is the man who takes the universe pri- 
marily as a spectacle. This is his main use for 
it. The object of his life is to get a good look 
at it before he dies to be the kind of man who 
can get a good look at it. How any one can 
go through a whole life sixty or seventy years 
of it with a splendour like this arching over 
him morning, noon, and night, flying beneath 
his feet, blooming out at him on every side, 
and not spend nearly all his time (after the 
bare necessaries of life) in taking it in, listen- 
ing and tasting and looking in it, is one of the 
seven wonders of the world. I never look out 
of my factory window in civilisation, see a 
sunset or shore of the universe, am reminded 
again that there is a universe but I wonder 
at myself and wonder at It. I try to put 
civilisation and the universe together. I can- 

Bugbear of Being Well Unformefc 


not do it. It 's as if we were afraid to be caught 
looking at it most of us spending the time 
to look at it, or as if we were ashamed before 
the universe itself running furiously to and 
fro in it, lest it should look at us. 

It is the first trait of a great book, it seems 
to me, that it makes all other books little 
hurrying, petulant books wait. A kind of 
immeasurable elemental hunger comes to a 
man out of it. Somehow I feel I have not had 
it out with a great book if I have not faced 
other great things with it. I want to face storms 
with it, hours of weariness and miles of walk- 
ing with it. It seems to ask me to. It seems 
to bring with it something which makes me 
want to stop my mere reading-and-doing kind 
of life, my ink-and-paper imitation kind of life, 
and come out and be a companion with the 
silent shining, with the eternal going on of 
things. It seems to be written in every 
writing that is worth a man's while that it 
can not that it shall not be read by itself. 
It is written that a man shall work to read, that 
he must win some great delight to do his read- 
ing with. Many and many a winter day I 
have tramped with four lines down to the edge 
of the night, to overtake my soul to read 
four lines with. I have faced a wind for 
hours been bitterly cold with it before the 
utmost joy of the book I had lost would come 
back to me. I find that when I am being 
normal (vacations mostly) I scarcely know 


Udell tns 
formeb B 


Xost Hrt of 

Cugbear of 

formed B 

what it is to give myself over to another mind 
for more than an hour or so at a time. If a 
chapter has anything in it, I want to do some- 
thing with it, go out and believe it, live with 
it, exercise it awhile. I am not only bored 
with a book when it does not interest me. I 
am bored with it when it does. I want to 
interrupt it, take it outdoors, see what the 
hills and clouds think, try it on, test it, see if 
it is good enough see if it can come down 
upon me as rain or sunlight or other real 
things and blow upon me as the wind. It 
does not belong to me until it has found its 
way through all the weathers within and the 
weathers without, until it drifts with me 
through moods, events, sensations, and days 
and nights, faces and sunsets, and the light of 
stars, until it is a part of life itself. I find 
there is no other or shorter or easier way for 
me to do with a great book than to greet it as 
it seems to ask to be greeted, as if it were a 
world that had come to me and sought me out 
wanted me to live in it. Hundreds and hun- 
dreds of times, when I am being civilised, 
have I not tried to do otherwise ? Have I not 
stopped my poor pale, hurried, busy soul (like 
a kind of spectre flying past me) before a great 
book and tried to get it to speak to it, and it 
would not ? It requires a world a great book 
does as a kind of ticket of admission, and 
what have I to do, when I am being civilised, 
with a world the one that 's running still 

Ube Buabear ot Being TRUell Unformefc 


and godlike over me ? Do I not for days and 
weeks at a time go about in it, guilty, shut-in, 
and foolish under it, slinking about its emptied 
miracles all around me, mean, joyless, anxious, 
unable to look the littlest flower in the face 

unable . "Ah, God! " my soul cries out 

within me. Are not all these things mine? 
Do they not belong with me and I with them ? 
And I go racing about, making things up in 
their presence, plodding for shadows, cutting 
out paper dolls to live with. All the time this 
earnest, splendid, wasted heaven shining over 
me doing nothing with it, expecting nothing 
of it a little more warmth out of it perhaps, 

a little more light not to see in . Who am I 

that the grasses should whisper to me, that the 
winds should blow upon me ? Now and then 
there are days that come, when I see a flower 
when I really see a flower and my soul cries 
out to it. 

Now and then there are days too, when I 
see a great book, a book that has the universe 
wrought in it. I find my soul feeling it vaguely, 
creeping toward it. I wonder if I dare to read 
it. I remember how I used to read it. I all 
but pray to it. I sit in my factory window and 
try sometimes. But it is all far away at least 
as long as I stay in my window. It 's all about 
some one else a kind of splendid wistful walk- 
ing in a dream. It does not really belong to 
me to live in a great book a book with the 
universe in it. Sometimes it almost seems to. 

ugbear of 


Ucll 1Tn 

formefc H 



4 8 

Xost Hrt of 

Xevel of 

But it barely, faintly belongs to me. It is as 
if the sky came to me, and stooped down over 
me, and then went softly away in my sleep. 

Beat) %e\>el of Intelligence 

Your hostess introduces you to a man in a 

drawing - room. * ' Mr. C belongs to a 

Browning Club, too," she says. 

What are you going to do about it? Are 
you going to talk about Browning ? 

Not if Browning is one of your alive places. 
You will reconnoitre first James Whitcomb 
Riley or Ella Wheeler Wilcox. There is no 
telling where The Enemy will bring you up, if 
you do not. He may tell you something about 
Browning you never knew something you 
have always wanted to know, but you will 
be hurt that he knew it. He may be the 
original Grammarian of " The Grammarian's 
Funeral" (whom Robert Browning took and 
knew perfectly well that he took at the one 
poetic moment of his life), but his belonging to 
a Browning Club The Enemy, that is does 
not mean anything to you or to any one else 
nowadays either about Browning or about 

There was a time once, when, if a man 
revealed in conversation, that he was familiar 
with poetic structure in John Keats, it meant 

Tlbe Beat) 3Le\>el of Ifnteiligence 


something about the man his temperament, 
his producing or delighting power. It means 
now, that he has taken a course in poetics in 
college, or teaches English in a high school, 
and is carrying deadly information about with 
him wherever he goes. It does not mean that 
he has a spark of the Keats spirit in him, or 
that he could have endured being in the same 
room with Keats, or Keats could have endured 
being in the same room with him, for fifteen 

If there is one inconvenience rather than 
another in being born in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century, it is the almost constant 
compulsion one is under in it, of finding people 
out making a distinction between the people 
who know a beautiful thing and are worth 
while, and the boors of culture the people who 
know all about it. One sees on every hand 
to-day persons occupying positions of im- 
portance who have been taken through all 
the motions of education, from the bottom to 
the top, but who always belong to the intel- 
lectual lower classes whatever their positions 
may be, because they are not masters. They 
are clumsy and futile with knowledge. Their 
culture has not been made over into them- 
selves. They have acquired it largely under 
mob-influence (the dead level of intelligence), 
and all that they can do with it, not wanting 
it, is to be teachery with it force it on other 
people who do not want it. 

tlbe 2>ea& 

level of 



Xost Hrt of 

Ube Dcaa 
level of 



Whether in the origin, processes, or results 
of their learning, these people have all the 
attributes of a mob. Their influence and force 
in civilisation is a mob influence, and it operates 
in the old and classic fashion of mobs upon all 
who oppose it. 

It constitutes at present the most important 
and securely intrenched intimidating force that 
modern society presents against the actual 
culture of the world, whether in the schools or 
out of them. Its voice is in every street, and its 
shout of derision may be heard in almost every 
walk of life against all who refuse to conform 
to it. There are but very few who refuse. 
Millions of human beings, young and old, in 
meek and willing rows are seen on every side, 
standing before It THE DEAD lyEVEX, 
anxious to do anything to be graded up to it, 
or to be graded down to it offering their heads 
to be taken off, their necks to be stretched, or 
their waists willing to live footless all their 
days anything anything whatever, bless 
their hearts! to know that they are on the 
Level, the Dead Level, the precise and exact 
Dead Level of Intelligence. 

The fact that this mob-power keeps its hold 
by using books instead of bricks is merely a 
matter of form. It occupies most of the 
strategic positions just now in the highways 
of learning, and it does all the things that 
mobs do, and does them in the way that mobs 
do them. It has broken into the gardens, into 

Beat) 2Le\>el of Untelliaence 

the arts, the resting-places of nations, and with 
its factories to learn to love in, its treadmills 
to learn to sing in, it girdles its belt of drudgery 
around the world and carries bricks and mortar 
to the clouds. It shouts to every human being 
across the spaces the outdoors of life : ' c Who 
goes there? Come thou with us. Dig thou 
with us. Root or die!" 

Every vagrant joy-maker and world-builder 
the modern era boasts genius, lover, singer, 
artist, has had to have his struggle with the 
hod-carriers of culture, and if a lover of books 
has not enough love in him to refuse to be 
coerced into joining the huge Intimidator, the 
aggregation of the Reading Labour Unions 
of the world, which rules the world, there is 
little hope for him. All true books draw 
quietly away from him. Their spirit is a 
spirit he cannot know. 

It would be hard to find a more significant 
fact with regard to the ruling culture of 
modern life than the almost total displacement 
of temperament in it, its blank, staring in- 
expressiveness. We have lived our lives so 
long under the domination of the " Cultured- 
man-must" theory of education the industry 
of being well informed has gained such head- 
way with us, that out of all of the crowds of 
the civilised we prefer to live with to-day, one 
must go very far to find a cultivated man who 
has not violated himself in his knowledge, who 
has not given up his last chance at distinction 

%evel of 


5 2 

OLost Hrt ot 

Ube S)eab 

level of 



his last chance to have his knowledge fit him 
closely and express him and belong to him. 

The time was, when knowledge was made to 
fit people like their clothes. But now that we 
have come to the point where we pride our- 
selves on educating people in rows and civil- 
ising them in the bulk, " If a man has the 
privilege of being born by himself, of begin- 
ning his life by himself, it is as much as he 
can expect," says the typical Board of Edu- 
cation. The result is, so far as his being 
educated is concerned, the average man looks 
back to his first birthday as his last chance of 
being treated as God made him, a special 
creation by himself. <( The Almighty may 
deal with a man, when He makes him, as a 
special creation by himself. He may manage 
to do it afterward. We cannot," says The 
Board, succinctly, drawing its salary; " It in- 
creases the tax rate." 

The problem is dealt with simply enough. 
There is just so much cloth to be had and just 
so many young and two-legged persons to be 
covered with it and that is the end of it. 
The growing child walks down the years 
turns every corner of life with Vistas of 
Ready-Made Clothing hanging before him, 
closing behind him. Unless he shall fit him- 
self to these clothes he is given to understand 
down the pitying, staring world he shall 
go, naked, all his days, like a dream in the 


3Lex>el ot flntelliaence 


It is a general principle that a nation's life 
can be said to be truly a civilised life, in pro- 
portion as it is expressive, and in proportion 
as all the persons in it, in the things they 
know and in the things they do, are engaged 
in expressing what they are. 

A generation may be said to stand forth in 
history, to be a great and memorable genera- 
tion in art and letters, in material and spiritual 
creation, in proportion as the knowledge of 
that generation was fitted to the people who 
wore it and the things they were doing in it, 
and the things they were born to do. 

If it were not contradicted by almost every 
attribute of what is being called an age of 
special and general culture, it would seem to 
be the first axiom of all culture that know- 
ledge can only be made to be true knowledge, 
by being made to fit people, and to express 
them as their clothes fit them and express 

But we do not want knowledge in our civili- 
sation to fit people as their clothes fit them. 
We do not even want their clothes to fit them. 
The people themselves do not want it. Our 
modern life is an elaborate and organised en- 
deavour, on the part of almost every person in 
it, to escape from being fitted, either in know- 
ledge or in anything else. The first symptom 
of civilisation of the fact that a man is be- 
coming civilised is that he wishes to appear 
to belong where he does not. It is looked 

level of 



SLost Hrt of 1ReaMn0 

Ube SJcafc 
level of 


upon as the spirit of the age. He wishes to be 
learned, that no one may find out how little 
he knows. He wishes to be religious, that no 
one may see how wicked he is. He wishes to 
be respectable, that no one may know that he 
does not respect himself. The result mocks 
at us from every corner in life. Society is a 
struggle to get into the wrong clothes. Cul- 
ture is a struggle to learn the things that be- 
long to some one else. Black Mollie (who is 
the cook next door) presented her betrothed 
last week a stable hand on the farm with an 
eight-dollar manicure set. She did not mean 
to sum up the condition of culture in the 
United States in this simple and tender act. 
But she did. 

Michael O'Hennessy, who lives under the 
hill, sums it up also. He has just bought a 
brougham in which he and Mrs. O'H. can be 
seen almost any pleasant Sunday driving in 
the Park. It is not to be denied that Michael 
O'Hennessy, sitting in his brougham, is a 
genuinely happy-looking object. But it is not 
the brougham itself that Michael enjoys. 
What he enjoys is the fact that he has bought 
the brougham, and that the brougham belongs 
to some one else. Mrs. John Brown-Smith, 
who presides at our tubs from week to week, 
and who comes to us in a brilliant silk waist 
(removed for business), has just bought a 
piano to play Hold the Fort on, with one finger, 
when the neighbours are passing by a fact 

%ex>ei ot 1Inteili0ence 


which is not without national significance, 
which sheds light upon schools and upon 
college catalogues and learning-shows, and 
upon educational conditions through the whole 
United States. 

It would be a great pity if a man could not 
know the things that have always belonged 
before, to other men to know, and it is the 
essence of culture that he should, but his ap- 
pearing to know things that belong to some one 
else his desire to appear to know them 
heaps up darkness. The more things there 
are a man knows without knowing the inside 
of them the spirit of them the more kinds 
of an ignoramus he is. It is not enough to say 
that the learned man (learned in this way) is 
merely ignorant. His ignorance is placed 
where it counts the most, generally, at the 
fountain heads of society, and he radiates 

There seem to be three objections to the 
Dead Level of Intelligence, getting people at 
all hazards, alive or dead, to know certain 
things. First, the things that a person who 
learns in this way appears to know, are blighted 
by his appearing to know them. Second, he 
keeps other people who might know them from 
wanting to. Third, he poisons his own life, 
by appearing to know by even desiring to 
appear to know what is not in him to know. 
He takes away the last hope he can ever have 
of really knowing the thing he appears to 

Ube 2>ea& 

level of 



OLost Hrt of 

"Cbe >ea& 
level of 


know, and, unless he is careful, the last hope 
he can ever have of really knowing anything. 
He destroys the thing a man does his knowing 
with. It is not the least pathetic phase of the 
great industry of being well informed, that 
thousands of men and women may be seen on 
every hand, giving up their lives that they 
may appear to live, and giving up knowledge 
that they may appear to know, taking pains for 
vacuums. Success in appearing to know is suc- 
cess in locking one's self outside of knowledge, 
and all that can be said of the most learned 
man that lives if he is learned in this way 
is that he knows more things that he does not 
know, about more things, than any man in the 
world. He runs the gamut of ignorance. 

In the meantime, as long as the industry of 
being well informed is the main ideal of living 
in the world, as long as every man's life, 
chasing the shadow of some other man's life, 
goes hurrying by, grasping at ignorance, there 
is nothing we can do most of us as educa- 
tors, but to rescue a youth now and then from 
the rush and wait for results, both good and 
evil, to work themselves out. Those of us who 
respect every man's life, and delight in it and 
in the dignity of the things that belong to it, 
would like to do many things. We should be 
particularly glad to join hands in the " practi- 
cal" things that are being hurried into the 
hurry around us. But they do not seem to us 
practical. The only practical thing we know 

TIbe Beafc 3Le\>el of Untelli0ence 


of that can be done with a man who does not 
respect himself, is to get him to. It is true, 
no doubt, that we cannot respect another man's 
life for him, but we are profoundly convinced 
that we cannot do anything more practical for 
such a man's life than respecting it until he 
respects it himself, and we are convinced also 
that until he does respect it himself, respecting 
it for him is the only thing that any one else 
can do the beginning and end of all action for 
him and of all knowledge. Democracy to-day 
in education as in everything else is facing 
its supreme opportunity. Going about in the 
world respecting men until they respect them- 
selves is almost the only practical way there is 
of serving them. 

We find it necessary to believe that any man 
in this present day who shall be inspired to re- 
spect his life, who shall refuse to take to him- 
self the things that do not belong to his life, 
who shall break with the appearance of things, 
who shall rejoice in the things that are really 
real to him there shall be no withstanding 
him. The strength of the universe shall be in 
him. He shall be glorious with it. The man 
who lives down through the knowledge that 
he has, has the secret of all knowledge that he 
does not have. The spirit that all truths are 
known with, becomes his spirit. The essen- 
tial mastery over all real things and over all 
real men is his possession forever. 

When this vital and delighted knowledge 

ttbe S>ea& 

level of 



3Lo0t Btt of 

ing as ne 

knowledge that is based on facts one's own 
self-respecting experience with facts, shall be- 
gin again to be the habit of the educated life, 
the days of the Dead Level of Intelligence 
shall be numbered. Men are going to be the 
embodiment of the truths they know some- 
time as they have been in the past. When 
the world is filled once more with men who 
know what they know, learning will cease to 
be a theory about a theory of life, and children 
will acquire truths as helplessly and inescap- 
ably as they acquire parents. Truths will be 
learned through the types of men the truths 
have made. A man was meant to learn truths 
by gazing up and down lives out of his own 

When these principles are brought home to 
educators when they are practised in some 
degree by the people, instead of merely, as 
they have always been before, by the leaders 
of the people, the world of knowledge shall be 
a new world. All knowledge shall be human, 
incarnate, expressive, artistic. Whole systems 
of knowledge shall come to us by seeing one 
another's faces on the street. 


IRot IReaMng as ne %ifce$ 

Most of us are apt to discover by the time we 
are too old to get over it, that we are born with 

IRot 1Rea&in0 as ne Sltfces 


a natural gift for being interested in ourselves. 
We realise in a general way, that our lives are 
not very important that they are being lived 
on a comparatively obscure but comfortable 
little planet, on a side street in space but no 
matter how much we study astronomy, nor 
how fully we are made to feel how many other 
worlds there are for people to live on, and 
how many other people have lived on this one, 
we are still interested in ourselves. 

The fact that the universe is very large is 
neither here nor there to us, in a certain sense. 
It is a mere matter of size. A man has to live 
on it. If he had to live on all of it, it would 
be different. It naturally comes to pass that 
when a human being once discovers that he is 
born in a universe like this, his first business 
in it is to find out the relation of the nearest, 
most sympathetic part of it to himself. 

After the usual first successful experiment a 
child makes in making connection with the 
universe, the next thing he learns is how much 
of the universe there is that is not good to eat. 
He does not quite understand it at first the 
unswallowableness of things. He soon comes 
to the conclusion that, although it is worth 
while as a general principle, in dealing with 
a universe, to try to make the connection, as 
a rule, with one's mouth, it cannot be ex- 
pected to succeed except part of the time. He 
looks for another connection. He learns that 
some things in this world are merely made to 

Hot 1Rea&. 

ing as ne 


2Lost Hrt of 

ing as ne 

feel, and drop on the floor. He discovers each 
of his senses by trying to make some other 
sense work. If his mouth waters for the moon, 
and he tries to smack his lips on a lullaby, who 
shall smile at him, poor little fellow, making 
his sturdy lunges at this huge, impenetrable 
world ? He is making his connection and get- 
ting his hold on his world of colour and sense 
and sound, with infinitely more truth and 
patience and precision and delight than nine 
out of ten of his elders are doing or have ever 
been able to do, in the world of books. 

The books that were written to be breathed 
gravely chewed upon by the literary infants 
of this modern day, who can number them ? 
books that were made to live in vast, open 
clearings in the thicket of life chapters like 
tents to dwell in under the wide heaven, visited 
like railway stations by excursion trains of 
readers, books that were made to look down 
from serene mountain heights criticised be- 
cause factories are not founded on them in 
every reading-room hundreds of people (who 
has not seen them ? ), looking up inspirations 
in encyclopaedias, poring over poems for facts, 
looking in the clouds for seeds, digging in the 
ground for sunsets; and everywhere through 
all the world, the whole huddling, crowding 
mob of those who read, hastening on its end- 
less paper-paved streets, from the pyramids of 
Egypt and the gates of Greece, to Pater Noster 
Row and the Old Corner Book Store nearly 

ftf THE 



Iftot IReafcins as ne OLifees 


all of them trying to make the wrong connec- 
tions with the right things or the right con- 
nections with things they have no connection 
with, and only now and then a straggler lag- 
ging behind perhaps, at some left-over book- 
stall, who truly knows how to read, or some 
beautiful, over-grown child let loose in a li- 
brary making connections for himself, who 
knows the uttermost joy of a book. 

In seeking for a fundamental principle to 
proceed upon in the reading of books, it seems 
only reasonable to assert that the printed uni- 
verse is governed by the same laws as the real 
one. If a child is to have his senses about 
him his five reading senses he must learn 
them in exactly the way he learns his five 
living senses. The most significant fact about 
the way a child learns the five senses he has to 
live with is, that no one can teach them to 
him. We do not even try to. There are still 
thanks to a most merciful Heaven five 
things left in the poor, experitnented-on, bat- 
tered, modern child, that a board of education 
cannot get at. For the first few months of his 
life, at least, it is generally conceded, the 
modern infant has his education that is, his 
making connection with things entirely in 
his own hands. That he learns more these 
first few months of his life when his education 
is in his own hands, than he learns in all the 
later days when he is surrounded by those who 
hope they are teaching him something, it may 

ing as ne 


SLost Hrt ot 

Vlot ttcab* 
a as One 

not be fair to say; but while it cannot be said 
that he learns more perhaps, what he does 
learn, he learns better, and more scientifically, 
than he is ever allowed to learn with ordinary 
parents and ordinary teachers and text-books 
in the years that come afterward. With most 
of us, this first year or so, we are obliged to 
confess, was the chance of our lives. Some of 
us have lived long enough to suspect that if 
we have ever really learned anything at all we 
must have learned it then. 

The whole problem of bringing to pass in 
others and of maintaining in ourselves a vital 
and beautiful relation to the world of books, 
turns entirely upon such success as we may 
have in calling back or keeping up in our atti- 
tude toward books, the attitude of the new-born 
child when he wakes in the sunshine of the 
earth, and little by little on the edge of the 
infinite, groping and slow, begins to make 
his connections with the universe. It cannot 
be over-emphasised that this new-born child 
makes these connections for himself, that the 
entire value of having these connections made 
is in the fact that he makes them for himself. 

As between the books in a library that ought 
to be read, and a new life standing in it, that 
ought to read them, the sacred thing is not the 
books the child ought to read. The sacred 
thing is the way the child feels about the 
books; and unless the new life, like the needle 
of a magnet trembling there under the whole 

Wot IRea&fna as <>ne SLifees 

wide heaven of them all, is allowed to turn and 
poise itself by laws of attraction and repulsion 
forever left out of our hands, the magnet is 
ruined. It is made a dead thing. It makes 
no difference how many similar books may be 
placed within range of the dead thing after- 
ward, nor how many good reasons there may 
be for the dead thing's being attracted to 
them, the poise of the magnet toward a book, 
which is the sole secret of any power that a 
book can have, is trained and disciplined out 
of it. The poise of the magnet, the magnet's 
poising itself, is inspiration, and inspiration is 
what a book is for. 

If John Milton had had any idea when he 
wrote the little book called Paradise Lost that 
it was going to be used mostly during the 
nineteenth century to batter children's minds 
with, it is doubtful if he would ever have had 
the heart to write it. It does not damage a book 
very much to let it lie on a wooden shelf little 
longer than it ought to. But to come crashing 
down into the exquisite filaments of a human 
brain with it, to use it to keep a brain from 
continuing to be a brain that is, an organ 
with all its reading senses acting and reacting 
warm and living in it, is a very serious matter. 
It always ends in the same way, this modern 
brutality with books. Even Bibles cannot 
stand it. Human nature stands it least of all. 
That books of all things in this world, made 
to open men's instincts with, should be so 

toot Ceas- 
ing as ne 

6 4 

SLost Hrt of IReafcing 

t 1Reat? 
ing as One 

generally used to shut them up with, is one 
of the saddest signs we have of the caricature 
of culture that is having its way in our modern 
world. It is getting so that the only way the 
average dinned-at, educated modern boy, shut 
in with masterpieces, can really get to read is in 
some still overlooked moment when people are 
too tired of him to do him good. Then softly, 
perhaps guiltily, left all by himself with a book, 
he stumbles all of a sudden on his soul 
steals out and loves something. It may not be 
the best, but listening to the singing of the 
crickets is more worth while than seeming to 
listen to the music of the spheres. It leads to 
the music of the spheres. All agencies, per- 
sons, institutions, or customs that interfere 
with this sensitive, self-discovering moment 
when a human spirit makes its connection in 
life with its ideal, that interfere with its being 
a genuine, instinctive, free and beautiful con- 
nection, living and growing daily of itself, all 
influences that tend to make it a formal con- 
nection or a merely decorous or borrowed one, 
whether they act in the name of culture or 
religion or the state, are the profoundest, most 
subtle, and most unconquerable enemies of 
culture in the world. 

It is not necessary to contend for the doc- 
trine of reading as one likes using the word 
11 likes " in the sense of direction and tempera- 
ment in its larger and more permanent sense. 
It is but necessary to call attention to the fact 

"Wot 1Rea&fn0 as ne Hikes 

that the universe of books is such a very large 
and various universe, a universe in which so 
much that one likes can be brought to bear at 
any given point, that reading as one likes is 
almost always safe in it. There is always 
more of what one likes than one can possibly 
read. It is impossible to like any one thing 
deeply without discovering a hundred other 
things to like with it. One is infallibly led 
out. If one touches the universe vitally at 
one point, all the rest of the universe flocks to 
it. It is the way a universe is made. 

Almost anything can be accomplished with 
a child who has a habit of being eager with 
books, who respects them enough, and who re- 
spects himself enough, to leave books alone 
when he cannot be eager with them. Eager- 
ness in reading counts as much as it does in 
living. A live reader who reads the wrong 
books is more promising than a dead one who 
reads the right ones. Being alive is the point. 
Anything can be done with life. It is the Seed 
of Infinity. 

While much might be said for the topical or 
purely scientific method in learning how to 
read, it certainly is not claiming too much for 
the human, artistic, or personal point of view 
in reading, that it comes first in the order of 
time in a developing life and first in the order 
of strategic importance. Topical or scientific 
reading cannot be fruitful ; it cannot even be 
scientific, in the larger sense, except as, in its 

ing as ne 


SLost Hrt ot 

ng a0 One 


own time and in its own way, it selects itself 
in due time in a boy's life, buds out, and is 
allowed to branch out, from his own inner 
personal reading. 

The fact that the art of reading as one likes 
is the most difficult, perhaps the most impossi- 
ble, of all the arts in modern times, constitutes 
one of those serio-comic problems of civilisation 
a problem which civilisation itself, with all 
its swagger of science, its literary braggadocio, 
its Library Cure, with all its Board Schools, 
Commissioners of Education and specialists, 
and bishops and newsboys, all hard at work 
upon it, is only beginning to realise. 

As the first and most important and most far- 
reaching of the arts of reading is the Art of 
Reading as One Likes, the principles, inspira- 
tions, and difficulties of reading as one likes 
are the first to be considered in this book. 

There seem to be certain spiritual and intel- 
lectual experiences some people have had with 
books, which in spite of certain difficulties, 
certain obstinate plausibilities, incline them to 
believe there is, or can be found a method of 
Reading as One Likes, which will make it 
progressive, practical, artistic, and respectable. 

What these methods are or might be, one 
member of this hopeful company, for the en- 
couragement of the others, has made bold to 
express in the following chapters. 




6 7 

In order to keep the discussion concrete and 
human it has seemed best to tell things just as 
they happened, and so the principles have been 
put (not without a little fear and trembling) 
in the form of experiences with books and 
libraries, and personal impressions, under the 
general head of The Confessions of an Unscien- 
tific Mind. The reader's attention will be in- 
vited to a consideration of the atmosphere of 
libraries, the pros and cons of the Scientific 
Method, and to a general constructive criticism 
of the modern man's personal reading habits, 
such as Reading for Principles, Reading for 
Facts, Reading for Feelings, Reading for Re- 
sults, and some further hopeful principles 
which have been called Reading Down 
Through, and Reading the World Together. 

flot 1Re 
ing as One 



Libraries. Wanted: An 
Old- Fashioned Librarian 


1 NEVER shall quite forget the time when 
the rumour was started in our town that 
old Mr. M , our librarian a gentle, fur- 
tive, silent man a man who (with the single 
exception of a long white beard) was all 
screwed up and bent around with learning, 
who was always slipping invisibly in and out 
of his high shelves, and who looked as if his 
whole life had been nothing but a kind of 
long, perpetual salaam to books had been 
caught dancing one day with his wife. 

" Which only goes to show," broke in The 


M. P., " what a man of fixed literary habits 
mere book-habits if he keeps on, is reduced 

But as I was about to remark, for a good 
many weeks afterward after the rumour was 
started one kept seeing people (I was one of 
them) as they came into the library, looking 

shyly at Mr. M , as if they were looking at 

him all over again. They looked at him as 
if they had really never quite noticed him be- 
fore. He sat at his desk, quiet and busy, and 
bent over, with his fine-pointed pen and his 
labels, as usual, and his big leather- bound 
catalogue of the universe. 

A few of us had had reason to suspect at 
least we had had hopes that the pedantry in 

Mr. M was somewhat superimposed, that 

he had possibilities, human and otherwise, but 
none of us, it must be confessed, had been able 
to surmise quite accurately just where they 
would break out. We were filled with a gentle 
spreading joy with the very thought of it, a 
sense of having acquired a secret possession in 
a librarian. The community at large, how- 
ever, as it walked into its library, looked at its 
Acre of Books, and then looked at its librarian ; 
felt cheated. It was shocked. The commun- 
ity had always been proud of its books, proud 
of its Book Worm. It had always paid a big 
salary to it. And the Worm had turned. 

I have only been back to the old town twice 
since the day I left it, as a boy about this 

7 SLost Hrt of 1Rea&in0 

time. The first time I weut he was there. I 
came across him in his big, splendid new 
library, his face like some live, but wrinkled 
old parchment, twinkling and human though 
looking out from its Dust Heap. " It seems 
to me," I thought, as I stood in the doorway, 
saw him edging around an alcove in The 
Syriac Department, " that if one must have a 
great dreary heaped-up pile of books in a town 
anyway the spectacle of a man like this, 
flitting around in it, doting on them, is what 
one ought to have to go with it." He always 
seemed to me a kind of responsive every- way - 
at-once little man, book-alive all through. 
One never missed it with him. He had the 
literary nerves of ten dead nations tingling 
in him. 

The next time I was in town they said he 
had resigned. They said he lived in the little 
grey house around the corner from the great 
new glaring stone library. No one ever saw 
him except in one of his long, hesitating walks, 
or sometimes, perhaps, by the little study win- 
dow, pouring himself over into a book there. 
It was there that I saw him myself that last 
morning older and closer to the light turning 
leaves the same still, swift eagerness about 

I stepped into the library next door and saw 
the new librarian an efficient person. He 
seemed to know what time it was while we 
stood and chatted together. That is the main 

cf. 71 

impression one had of him that he would cf. 
always know what time it was. Put him any- 
where. One felt it. 


Our new librarian troubles me a good deal. 
I have not quite made out why. Perhaps it is 
because he has a kind of chipper air with the 
books. I am always coming across him in the 
shelves, but I do not seem to get used to him. 
Of course I pull myself together, bow and say 
things, make it a point to assume he is liter- 
ary, go through the form of not letting him 
know what I think as well as may be, but we 
do not get on. 

And yet all the time down underneath I 
know perfectly well that there is no real reason 
why I should find fault with him. The only 
thing that seems to be the matter with him is 
that he keeps right on, every time I see him, 
making me try to. 

I have had occasion to notice that, as a gen- 
eral rule, when I find myself finding fault with 
a man in this fashion this vague, eager 
fashion the gist of it is that I merely want 
him to be some one else. But in this case 
well, he is some one else. He is almost any- 
body else. He might be a head salesman in a 
department store, or a hotel clerk, or a train 

72 Xost Hrt of 

cf. dispatcher, or a broker, or a treasurer of some- 
thing. There are thousands of things he might 
be ought to be except our librarian. He 
has an odd, displaced look behind the great 
desk. He looks as if he had gotten in by mis- 
take and was trying to make the most of it. 
He has a business-like, worldly-minded, foreign 
air about him a kind of off-hand, pert, famil- 
iar way with books. He does not know how 
to bend over like a librarian and when one 
comes on him in an alcove, the way one ought 
to come on a librarian, with a great folio on 
his knees, he is well, there are those who 
think, that have seen it, that he is positively 
comic. I followed him around only the other 
day for fifteen or twenty minutes, from one 
alcove to another, and watched him taking 
down books. He does not even know how to 
take down a book. He takes all the books 
down alike the same pleasant, dapper, capable 
manner, the same peek and clap for all of 
them. He always seems to have the same in- 
defatigable unconsciousness about him, going 
up and down his long aisles, no more idea of 
what he is about or of what the books are 
about; everything about him seems discon- 
nected with a library. I find I cannot get my- 
self to notice him as a librarian or comrade, or 
book-mind. He does not seem to have noticed 
himself in this capacity exactly. So far as I 
can get at his mind at all, he seems to have 
decided that his mind (any librarian's mind) is 


a kind of pneumatic-tube, or carrier system 
apparently for shoving immortals at people. 
Any higher or more thorough use for a mind, 
such as being a kind of spirit of the books for 
people, making a kind of spiritual connection 
with them down underneath, does not seem to 
have occurred to him. 

Time was when librarians really had some- 
thing to do with books. They looked it. One 
could almost tell a librarian on the street tell 
him at sight, if he had been one long enough. 
One could feel a library in a man somehow. It 
struck in. Librarians were allowed to be per- 
sons. It was expected of them. They have 
not always been what so many of them are 
now mere couplings, conveniences, connect- 
ing-rods, literary-beltings. They were identi- 
fied wrought in with books. They could not 
be unmixed. They ate books; and, like the 
little green caterpillars that eat green grass, 
the colour showed through. A sort of general 
brown, faded colour, a little undusted around 
the edges, was the proper colour for librarians. 

It is true that people did not expect librarians 
to look quite human at least on the outside, 
sometimes, and doubtless the whole matter was 
carried too far. But it does seem to me it is 
some comfort (if one has to have a librarian 
in a library) to have one that goes with the 
books same colour, tone, feeling, spirit, and 
everything the kind of librarian that slips in 
and out among books without being noticed 



74 SLost Hrt of 

ct ai. there, one way or the other, like the overtone 
in a symphony. 



But the trouble with our library is not merely 
the new librarian, who permeates, penetrates, 
and ramifies the whole library within and 
without, percolating efficiency into its farthest 
and loneliest alcoves. Our new librarian has 
a corps of assistants. And even if you man- 
age, by slipping around a little, to get over to 
where a book is, alone, and get settled down 
with it, there is always some one who is, has 
been, or will be looking over your shoulder. 

I dare say it 's a defect of temperament this 
having one's shoulder looked over in libraries. 
Other people do not seem to be troubled much, 
and I suppose I ought to admit, while I am 
about it, that having one's shoulder looked 
over in a library does not in the least depend 
upon any one's actually looking over it. That 
is merely a matter of form. It is a little hard 
to express it. What one feels at least in our 
library is that one is in a kind of side-looking 
place. One feels a kind of literary detective 
system going silently on in and out all around 
one, a polite, absent-minded-looking watchful- 

Now I am not for one moment flattering 

et aU 75 

myself that I can make my fault-finding with et *l 
our librarian's assistants amount to much fill 
out a blank with it. 

No one can feel more strongly than I do my 
failure to put my finger on the letter of our 
librarian's faults. I cannot even tell the dif- 
ference between the faults and the virtues of 
our librarian's assistants. Either by doing the 
right thing with the wrong spirit, or the wrong 
thing with the right spirit they do their faults 
and virtues all up together. Their indefatig- 
able unobtrusiveness, their kindly, faithful 
service I both dread and appreciate. I have 
tried my utmost to notice and emphasise every 
day the pleasant things about them, but I 
always get tangled up. I have started out to 
think with approval, for instance, of the hush, 
the hush that clothes them as a garment, 
but it has all ended in my merely wondering 
where they got it and what they thought they 
were doing with it. One would think that a 
hush a hush of almost any kind could hardly 
help but I have said enough. I do not want 
to seem censorious, but if ever there was a 
visible, unctuous, tangible, actual thick silence, 
a silence that can be proved, if ever there was a 
silence that stood up and flourished and swung 
its hat, that silence is in our library. The way 
our librarian's assistants go tiptoeing and re- 
verberating around the room well it's one 
of those things that follow a man always, fol- 
low his inmost being all his life. It gets in 

76 SLost Hrt of 1Reat>in0 

et ai. with the books after a few years or so. One 
can feel the tiptoeing going on in a book one 
of our library books when one gets home with 
it. It is the spirit of the place. Everything 
that comes out of it is followed and tiptoed 
around by our librarian's assistants' silence. 
They are followed about by it themselves. The 
thick little blonde one, with the high yellow 
hair, lives in our ward. One feels a kind of 
hush rimming her around, when one meets her 
on the street. 

Now I do not wish to claim that librarians' 
assistants can possibly be blamed, in so many 
words, either for this, or for any of the other 
things that seem to make them (in our library, 
at least) more prominent than the books. 
Everything in a library seems to depend upon 
something in it that cannot be put into words. 
It seems to be a kind of spirit. If the spirit is 
the wrong spirit, not all the librarians in the 
world, not even the books themselves can do 
anything about it. 

Postscript. I do hope that no one will sup- 
pose from this chapter that I am finding fault 
or think I am finding fault with our assistant 
librarians. I am merely finding fault with them 
(may Heaven forgive them !) because I cannot. 
It doesn't seem to make very much difference 
their doing certain things or not doing them. 
They either do them or they don't do them 
whichever it is with the same spirit. They 

etc. 77 

are not really down in their hearts true to the etc * 
books. One can hardly help feeling vaguely, 
persistently resentful over having them about 
presiding over the past. One never catches 
them at least I never do forgetting them- 
selves. One never comes on one loving a book. 
They seem to be servants, most of them, 
book chambermaids. They do not care any- 
thing about a library as a library. They j ust 
seem to be going around remembering rules 
in it. 



The P. G. S. of M. as good as said the other 
day, when I had been trying as well as I could 
to express something of this kind, that the real 
trouble with the modern library was not with 
the modern library, but with me. He thought 
I tried to carry too many likes and dislikes 
around with me, that I was too sensitive. He 
seemed to think that I should learn to be cal- 
lous in places of public resort. 

I said I had no very violent dislikes to deal 
with. The only thing I could think of that 
was the matter with me in a library was that I 
had a passion for books. I did n't like climb- 
ing over a barricade of catalogues to get to 
books. I hated to feel partitioned off from 
them, to stand and watch rows of people mark- 
ing things between me and books. I thought 

78 OLost Hrt of 1Rea&in0 

< tc that things had come to a pretty pass, if a man 
could not so much as touch elbows with a poet 
nowadays with Plato, for instance without 
carrying a redoubt of terrible beautiful young 
ladies. I said I thought a great many other 
people felt the way I did. I admitted there 
were other sides to it, but there were times, I 
said, when it almost seemed to me that this 
spontaneous uprising in our country this 
movement of the Book L,overs, for instance 
was simply a struggle on the part of the people 
to get away from Mr. Carnegie's libraries. 
They are hemming literature and human 
nature in, on every side, or they are going to 
unless Mr. Carnegie can buy up occasional 
old-fashioned librarians some other kind than 
are turned out in steel works to put into 
them. Libraries are getting to be huge Sepa- 
rators. Books that have been put through 
libraries are separated from themselves. They 
are depersonalised the human nature all taken 
off. And yet when one thinks of it, with nine 
people out of ten the best people and the 
worst both the sense of having a personal re- 
lation to a book, the sense of snuggling up 
with one's own little life to a book, is what 
books are for. 

' ' To a man, ' ' I said, ' ' to whom books are 
people, and the livest kind of people, brothers 
of his own flesh, cronies of his life, the whole 
business of getting a book in a library is full 
of resentment and rebellion. He finds his 

etc. 79 

rights, or what he thinks are his rights, being 
treated as privileges, his most sacred and con- 
fidential relations, his relations with the great, 
meddled with by strangers pleasant enough 
strangers, but still strangers. Perhaps he 
wishes to see John Milton. He goes down town 
to a great unhomelike-looking building, and 
slides in at the door. He steps up to a wall, 
and asks permission to see John Milton. He 
waits in a kind of vague, unsatisfied fashion, 
but he feels that machinery is being set in 
motion. While it is being set in motion, he 
sits down before the wall on one of the seats or 
pews where a large audience of other comfort- 
less and lonely-looking people are. He feels 
the great, heartless building gathering itself 
together, going after John Milton for him, 
while he sits and waits. One after the other 
he hears human beings' names being called out 
in space, and one by one poor scared-looking 
people who seem to be ashamed to go with 
their names most of them step up before 
the audience. He sees a book being swung 
out to them, watches them slink gratefully 
away, and finally his own name echoing about 
among the Immortals, startles its way down 
to him. Then he steps up to the wall again, 
and John Milton at last, as on some huge 
transcendental derrick belonging to the city of 

, is swung into his arms. He feels of the 

outside gropingly takes it home. If he can 
get John Milton to come to life again after all 

8o Xost Hrt ot 

etc. this, he communes with him. In two weeks 
he takes him back. Then the derrick again. 

The only kind of book that I ever feel close 
to, in the average library, is a book on war. 
Even if I go in, in a gentle, harmless, happy, 
singing sort of way, thinking I want a volume 
of pastoral poems, by the time I get it, I wish 
it were something that could be loaded, or that 
would go off. As for asking for a book and 
reading it in cold blood right in the middle of 
such a place, it will always be beyond me. I 
have never found a book I could do it with 
yet. However I struggle to follow the train 
of thought in it, it 's a fuse. I find myself 
breaking out, when I see all these far-away- 
looking people coming up in rows to their far- 
away books. "A library," I say to myself, 
" is a huge barbaric, mediaeval institution, 
where behind stone and glass a man's dearest 
friends in the world, the familiars of his life, 
lie helpless in their cells. It is the Peniten- 
tiary of Immortals. There are certain visiting 
days when friends and relatives are allowed to 
come, but it only " At this point a gong 
sounds and tells me to go home. "Are not 
books bone of a man's bone, and flesh of his 
flesh ? Ought n't they to be ? Shall a man 
ask permission to see his wife ? Why should 
I fill out a slip to a pretty girl, when I want to 
be in Greece with Homer, or go to hell with 
Dante? Why should I write on a piece of 
paper, * I promise to return infinity by six 

etc, 81 

o'clock ' ? A library is a huge machine for etc. 
keeping the letter with books and violating 
their spirit. The fact that the machinery is 
filled with a mirage of pleasant faces does not 
help. Pleasant faces make machinery worse 
if they are a part of it. They make one 
expect something better." 

The P. G. S. of M. wished me to understand 
at this point that I was not made right, that I 
was incapable, helpless in a library, that I did 
not seem to know what to do unless I could 
have a simple, natural, or country relation to 

" It does n't follow," he said, " because you 
are bashful in a library, cannot get your mind 
to work there, with other people around, that 
the other people ought n't to be around. 
There are a great many ways of using a 
library, and the more people there are crowded 
in with the books there, other things being 
equal, the better. It's what a library is for," he 
said, and a great deal more to the same effect. 

I listened a while and told him that I sup- 
posed he was right. I supposed I had natur- 
ally a kind of wild mind. I allowed that the 
more a library in a general way took after a 
piece of woods, the more I enjoyed it. I did 
not attempt to deny that a library was made 
for the people, but I did think there ought to 
be places in libraries all libraries where wild 
ones, like me, could go. There ought to be in 
every library some uncultivated, uncatalogued, 

82 SLost Hrt of 1Rea&ing 

etc. unlibrarianed tract where a man with a skittish 
or country mind will have a chance, where a 
man who likes to be alone with books with 
books just as books will be permitted to 
browze, unnoticed, bars all down, and frisk 
with his mind and roll himself, without turning 
over all of a sudden only to find a librarian's 
assistant standing there wondering at him, 
looking down to the bottom of his soul. 

I am not in the least denying that librarians 
are well enough, that is, might be well 
enough, but as things are going to-day, they 
all seem to contribute, somehow, toward mak- 
ing a library a conscious and stilted place. 
They hold one up to the surface of things, with 
books. They make impossible to a man those 
freedoms of the spirit those best times of all 
in a library, when one feels free to find one's 
mood, when one gets hold of one's divining- 
rod, opens down into a book, discovers a new, 
unconscious, subterranean self there. 

The P. G. S. of M. broke in at this point and 
said this was all subjective folderol on my part 
that I had better drop it a kind of habit I 
had gotten into lately, of splitting the hairs of 
my emotions or something to that effect. He 
went on at some length and took the general 
ground before he was through, that absolutely 
everything in modern libraries depended on 
the librarians. Librarians I should judge 
in a modern library were what books were for. 
He said that the more intelligent people were 


nowadays the more they enjoyed librarians etc. 
knew how to use them doted on them, etc. , 
ad infinitum. 

" The kind of people one sees at operas," I 
interrupted, ' ' listening with librettos, the kind 
of people who puff up mountains to see views 
and extract geography from them, the people 
one meets in the fields, nowadays, flower in 
one hand, botany in the other, the kind of 
people who have to have charts to enjoy stars 
with these are the people who want librarians 
between them and their books. The more li- 
brarians they can get standing in a row between 
them and a masterpiece the more they feel 
they are appreciating it, the more card cata- 
logues, gazetteers, dictionaries, derricks, and 
other machinery they can have pulling and 
hauling above their heads in a library the more 
literary they feel in it. They feel culture 
somehow stirring around them. They are 
not exactly sure what culture is, but they feel 
that a great deal of it whatever it is is being 
poured over into them. 

But I must begin to bring these wanderings 
about libraries to a close. It can do no harm to 
remark, perhaps, that I am not maintaining 
do not wish to maintain (I could not if I dared) 
that the modern librarian with all his faults 
is not useful at times. As a sort of pianola 
or aeolian attachment for a library, as a me- 
chanical contrivance for making a compara- 
tively ignorant man draw perfectly enormous 

8 4 OLost Hrt ot 

harmonies out of it (which he does not care 
anything about), a modern librarian helps. 
All that I am maintaining is, that I am not 
this comparatively ignorant man. I am another 
one. I am merely saying that the pianola way 
of dealing with ignorance, in my own case, up 
to the present at least, does not grow on me. 


I suppose that the Boston Public Library 
would say if it said anything that I had a 
mere Old Athenaeum kind of a mind. I am 
obliged to confess that I dote on the Old 
Athenaeum. It protects one's optimism. One 
is made to feel there let right down in the 
midst of civilisation, within a stone's throw of 
the State House that it is barely possible to 
keep civilisation off. One feels it rolling itself 
along, heaping itself up out on Tremont Street 
and the Common (the very trees cannot live in 
it), but one is out of reach. When one has to 
live in civilisation, as most of us do, nearly all 
of one's time every day in the week, it means 
a great deal. I can hardly say how much it 
means to me, in the daily struggle with it, to 
be able to dodge behind the Athenaeum, to be 
able to go in and sit down there, if only for a 
minute, to be behind glass, as it were, to hear 
great, hungry Tremont Street chewing men 

up, hundreds of trainloads at a time, into wood- 
pulp, smoothing them out into nobody or 
everybody; it makes one feel, while it is not 
as it ought to be, as if, after all, there might 
be some way out, as if some provision had been 
made in this world, or might be made, for let- 
ting human beings live on it. 

The general sense of unsensitiveness in a 
modern library, of hurry and rush and effi- 
ciency, above all, the kind of moral smugness 
one feels there, the book-self-consciousness, 
the unprotected, public-street feeling one has 
all these things are very grave and important 
obstacles which our great librarians, with their 
great systems most of them have yet to 
reckon with. A little more mustiness, gentle- 
men, please, silence, slowness, solitude with 
books, as if they were woods, unattainableness 
(and oh, will any one understand it ?), a little 
inconvenience, a little old-fashioned, happy 
inconvenience; a chance to gloat and take 
pains and love things with difficulties, a chance 
to go around the corners of one's knowledge, 
to make modest discoveries all by one's self. 
It is no small thing to go about a library hav- 
ing books happen to one, to feel one's self 
sitting down with a book one's own private 
Providence turning the pages of events. 

One cannot help feeling that if a part of the 
money that is being spent carnegieing nowa- 
days, that is, in arranging for a great many 
books and a great many people to pile up order 

86 xost Hrt ot 

among a great many books, could be spent in 
providing hundreds of thousands of small libra- 
ries, or small places in large ones, where men 
who would like to do it would feel safe to creep 
in sometimes and open their souls nobody 
looking it would be no more than fair. 

Postscript. One has to be so much of one's 
time helpless before a librarian in this world, 
one has to put him on his honour as a gentle- 
man so much, to expose such vast, incredible 
tracts of ignorance to him, that I know only too 
well that I, of all men, cannot afford, in these 
pages or anywhere else, to say anything that 
will permanently offend librarians. I do hope I 
have not. It is only through knowing so many 
good ones that I know enough to criticise the 
rest. If I am right, it is because I am their 
spokesman. If I am wrong, I am not a well- 
informed person, and I do not count anywhere 
in particular on anything. The best way, I 
suspect, for a librarian to deal with me is not 
to try to classify me. I ought to be put out 
of the way on this subject, tucked back into 
any general pigeon-hole of odds and ends of 
temperament. If I had not felt that I could 
be cheerfully sorted out at the end of this 
page, filed away by everybody, almost any- 
body, as not making very much difference, I 
would not have spoken so freely. There is not 
a librarian who has read as far as this, in this 
book, who, though he may have had moments 

of being troubled in it, will not be able to dis- 
pose of me with a kind of grateful, relieved 
certainty. However that may be, I can only 
beg you, Oh, librarians, and all ye kindly 
learned ones, to be generous with me, wherever 
you put me. I leave my poor, naked, shiver- 
ing, miscellaneous soul in your hands. 

8 9 

Book II 

flDofcern IReafcer's Inspirations 
Ube Confessions of an Unscientific /IDinb 

I Unscientific 

n Being Intelligent in a Xibrar? 

[HAVE a way every two or three days or 
so, of an afternoon, of going down to our 
library, sliding into the little gate by the 
shelves, and taking a long empty walk there. 
I have found that nothing quite takes the place 
of it for me, wandering up and down the aisles 
of my ignorance, letting myself be loomed at, 
staring doggedly back. I always feel when I 
go out the great door as if I had won a victory. 
I have at least faced the facts. I swing off to 
my tramp on the hills where is the sense of 
space, as if I had faced the bully of the world, 
the whole assembled world, in his own den, 
and he had given me a license to live. 

Of course it only lasts a little while. One 
soon feels a library nowadays pulling on him. 

n 3Bef ng 

in a 

9 2 

SLost Hrt ot 1Rea&in0 

On 3Being 

in a 

One has to go back and do it all over again, but 
for the time being it affords infinite relief. It 
sets one in right relations to the universe, to 
the original plan of things. One suspects that 
if God had originally intended that men on this 
planet should be crowded off by books on it, it 
would not have been put off to the twentieth 

I was saying something of this sort to The 
Presiding Genius of the State of Massachusetts 
the other day, and when I was through he said 
promptly : ' * The way a man feels in a library 
(if any one can get him to tell it) lets out more 
about a man than anything else in the world." 

It did not seem best to make a reply to this. 
I did n't think it would do either of us any 

Finally, in spite of myself, I spoke up and 
allowed that I felt as intelligent in a library as 

He did not say anything. 

When I asked him what he thought being 
intelligent in a library was, he took the general 
ground that it consisted in always knowing 
what one was about there, in knowing exactly 
what one wanted. 

I replied that I did not think that that was a 
very intelligent state of mind to be in, in a 

Then I waited while he told me (fifteen min- 
utes) what an intelligent mind was anywhere 
(nearly everywhere, it seemed to me). But I 


Untellioent in a Xtbrarp 


did not wait in vain, and at last, when he had 
come around to it, and had asked me what I 
thought the feeling of intelligence consisted in, 
in libraries, I said it consisted in being pulled 
on by the books. 

I said quite a little after this, and of course 
the general run of my argument was that I was 
rather intelligent myself. The P. G. S. of M. 
had little to say to this, and after he had said 
how intelligent he was awhile, the conversation 
was dropped. 

The question that concerns me is, What shall 
a man do, how shall he act, when he finds him- 
self in the hush of a great library, opens the 
door upon it, stands and waits in the midst of 
it, with his poor outstretched soul all by him- 
self before IT, and feels the books pulling on 
him ? I always feel as if it were a sort of in- 
finite crossroads. The last thing I want to 
know in a library is exactly what I want there. 
I am tired of knowing what I want. I am al- 
ways knowing what I want. I can know what 
I want almost anywhere. If there is a place 
left on God's earth where a modern man can 
go and go regularly and not know what he 
wants awhile, in Heaven's name why not let 
him ? I am as fond as the next man, I think, 
of knowing what I am about, but when I find 
myself ushered into a great library I do not 
know what I am about any sooner than I can 
help. I shall know soon enough God forgive 


in a 


2Lost Hrt of TReafcing 

On SSefng 

in a 

me ! When it is given to a man to stand in the 
Assembly Room of Nations, to feel the ages, 
all the ages, gathering around him, flowing 
past his life; to listen to the immortal stir of 
Thought, to the doings of The Dead, why 
should a man interrupt interrupt a whole 
world to know what he is about ? I stand at the 
j unction of all Time and Space. I am the three 
tenses. I read the newspaper of the universe. 

It fades away after a little, I know. I go to 
the card catalogue like a lamb to the slaughter, 
poke my head into Knowledge somewhere 
and am lost, but the light of it on the spirit 
does not fade away. It leaves a glow there. 
It plays on the pages afterward. 

There is a certain fine excitement about tak- 
ing a library in this fashion, a sense of spacious- 
ness of joy in it, which one is almost always 
sure to miss in libraries most libraries by 
staying in them. The only way one can get 
any real good out of a modern library seems to 
be by going away in the nick of time. If one 
stays there is no help for it. One is soon stand- 
ing before the card catalogue, sorting one's wits 
out in it, filing them away, and the sense of 
boundlessness both in one's self and everybody 
else the thing a library is for is fenced off 
for ever. 

At least it seems fenced off for ever. One sees 
the universe barred and patterned off with a 
kind of grating before it. It is a card-catalogue 

1bow 1Ft ffeels 95 

I can only speak for one, but I must say for fj ow -jt 
myself, that as compared with this feeling one 
has in the door, this feeling of standing over a 
library mere reading in it, sitting down and 
letting one's self be tucked into a single book 
in it is a humiliating experience. 


Ibcw flt 3feeI0 

I am not unaware that this will seem to some 
this empty doting on infinity, this standing 
and staring at All-knowledge a mere dizzying 
exercise, whirling one's head round and round in 
Nothing, for Nothing. And I am not unaware 
that it would be unbecoming in me or in any 
other man to feel superior to a card catalogue. 

A card catalogue, of course, as a device for 
making a kind of tunnel for one's mind in a 
library for working one's way through it is 
useful and necessary to all of us. Certainly, if 
a man insists on having infinity in a convenient 
form infinity in a box it would be hard to 
find anything better to have it in than a card 

But there are times when one does not want 
infinity in a box. He loses the best part of it 
that way. He prefers it in its natural state. 
All that I am contending for is, that when these 
times come, the times when a man likes to feel 
infinite knowledge crowding round him, feel 

9 6 

2Lost Hrt of 



can 36e an 



it through the backs of unopened books, and 
likes to stand still and think about it, worship 
with the thought of it, he ought to be allowed 
to. It is true that there is no sign up against 
it (against thinking in libraries). But there 
might as well be. It amounts to the same 
thing. No one is expected to. People are ex- 
pected to keep up an appearance, at least, of 
doing something else there. I do not dare to 
hope that the next time I am caught standing 
and staring in a library, with a kind of blank, 
happy look, I shall not be considered by all my 
kind intellectually disreputable for it. I admit 
that it does not look intelligent this standing 
by a door and taking in a sweep of books this 
reading a whole library at once. I can im- 
agine how it looks. It looks like listening to a 
kind of cloth and paper chorus foolish enough ; 
but if I go out of the door to the hills again, 
refreshed for them and lifted up to them, with 
the strength of the ages in my limbs, great 
voices all around me, flocking my solitary walk 
who shall gainsay me ? 


1bow a Specialist can Be an 

It is a sad thing to go into a library nowa- 
days and watch the people there who are 
merely making tunnels through it. Some lib- 

1bow a Specialist can 3Be an Bfcucatefc flDan 


raries are worse than others seein to be made 
for tunnels. College libraries, perhaps, are the 
worst. One can almost if one stands still 
enough in them hear what is going on. It is 
getting to be practically impossible in a college 
library to slink off to a side shelf by one's self, 
take down some gentle-hearted book one does 
not need to read there and begin to listen in it, 
without hearing some worthy person quietly, 
persistently boring himself around the next 
corner. It is getting worse every year. The 
only way a readable library book can be read 
nowadays is to take it away from the rest of 
them. It must be taken where no other read- 
ing is going on. The busy scene of a crowd of 
people mere specialists and others gathered 
around roofing their minds in is no fitting 
place for a great book or a live book to be read 
a book that uncovers the universe. 

On the other hand, it were certainly a trying 
universe if it were uncovered all the time, if 
one had to be exposed to all of it and to all of 
it at once, always; and there is no denying that 
libraries were intended to roof men's minds in 
sometimes as well as to take the roofs of their 
minds off. What seems to be necessary is to 
find some middle course in reading between the 
scientist's habit of tunnelling under the dome 
of knowledge and the poet's habit of soaring 
around in it. There ought to be some princi- 
ple of economy in knowledge which will allow 
a man, if he wants to, or knows enough, to be a 

Dow a 
can 3Bc an 


9 8 

SLost Hrt of 

1foo\v> a 
can 3Bc an 


poet and a scientist both. It is well enough for 
a mere poet to take a library as a spectacle a 
kind of perpetual Lick Observatory to peek at 
the universe with, if he likes, and if a man is a 
mere scientist, there is no objection to his tak- 
ing a library as a kind of vast tunnel system, 
or chart for burrowing. But the common edu- 
cated man the man who is in the business of 
being a human being, unless he knows some 
middle course in a library, knows how to use 
its Lick Observatory and its tunnel system 
both does not get very much out of it. If 
there can be found some principle of economy 
in knowledge, common to artists and scientists 
alike, which will make it possible for a poet to 
know something, and which will make it pos- 
sible for a scientist to know a very great deal 
without being to most people a little under- 
witted, it would very much simplify the prob- 
lem of being educated in modern times, and 
there would be a general gratefulness. 

Far be it from me to seem to wish to claim 
this general gratefulness for myself. I have no 
world-reforming feeling about the matter. I 
would be very grateful just here to be allowed 
to tuck in a little idea no chart to go with it 
on this general subject, which my mind 
keeps coming back to, as it runs around 
watching people. 

There seem to be but two ways of knowing. 
One of them is by the spirit and the other is by 
the letter. The most reasonable principle of 

1bow a Specialist can Be an Btwcatefc /IDan 


economy in knowledge would seem to be, that 
in all reading that pertains to man's specialty 
his business in knowledge he should read by 
the letter, knowing the facts by observing them 
himself, and that in all other reading he should 
read through the spirit or imagination the 
power of taking to one's self facts that have 
been observed by others. If a man wants 
to be a specialist he must do his knowing 
like a scientist; but if a scientist wants to be 
a man he must be a poet ; he must learn how 
to read like a poet; he must educate in himself 
the power of absorbing immeasurable know- 
ledge, the facts of which have been approved 
and observed by others. 

The weak point in our modern education 
seems to be that it has broken altogether with 
the spirit or the imagination. Playing upon 
the spirit or the imagination of a man is the 
one method possible to employ in educating 
him in everything except his specialty. It is 
the one method possible to employ in making 
even a powerful specialist of him; in relating 
his specialty to other specialties; that is, in 
making either him or his specialty worth while. 

Inasmuch as it has been decreed that every 
man in modern life must be a specialist, the 
fundamental problem that confronts modern 
education is, How can a specialist be an edu- 
cated man ? There would seem to be but one 
way a specialist can be an educated man. The 
only hope for a specialist lies in his being 

ibovo a 
can 3Be an 



%ost Hrt of 

On 1Real>= 

ing JBoofcs 




allowed to have a soul (or whatever he chooses 
to call it), a spirit or an imagination. If he 
has This, whatever it is, in one way or another, 
he will find his way to every book he needs. 
He will read all the books there are in his 
specialty. He will read all other books through 
their backs. 


n IReabing Books tbrougb Ebeir 

As this is the only way the majority of books 
can be read by anybody, one wonders why so 
little has been said about it. 

Reading books through their backs is easily 
the most important part of a man's outfit, if he 
wishes to be an educated man. It is not neces- 
sary to prove this statement. The books them- 
selves prove it without even being opened. 
The mere outside of a library almost any 
library would seem to settle the point that if 
a man proposes to be in any larger or deeper 
sense a reader of books, the books must be read 
through their backs. 

Even the man who is obliged to open books 
in order to read them sooner or later admits 
this. He finds the few books he opens in the 
literal or unseeing way do not make him see 
anything. They merely make him see that he 
ought to have opened the others that he must 


36oofes tbrougb ZTbeir Bacfes 


ing 36ool;0 

open the others; that is, if he is to know any- 
thing. The next thing he sees is that he must 
open all the others to know anything. When 
he comes to know this he may be said to have 
reached what is called, by stretch of courtesy, 
a state of mind. It is the scientific state of 
mind. Any man who has watched his mind a 
little knows what this means. It is the first 
incipient symptom in a mind that science is 
setting in. 

The only possible cure for it is reading books 
through their backs. As this scientific state of 
mind is the main obstacle nowadays in the way 
of reading books through their backs, it is fit- 
ting, perhaps, at this point that I should dwell 
on it a little. 

I do not claim to be a scientist, and I have 
never even in my worst moments hoped for 
a scientific mind. I am afraid I know as well 
as any one who has read as far as this, in this 
book, that I cannot prove anything. The book 
has at least proved that ; but it does seem to me 
that there are certain things that very much 
need to be said about the scientific mind, in its 
general relation to knowledge. I would give 
the world to be somebody else for awhile and 
say them right here in the middle of my book. 
But I know as well as any one, after all that 
has passed, that if I say anything about the 
scientific mind nobody will believe it. The best 
I can do is to say how I feel about the scien- 
tific mind. "And what has that to do with 


SLost Hrt of 1Rea&in0 

ing 36ool;y 




it ? " exclaims the whole world and all its 
laboratories. What is really wanted in dealing 
with this matter seems to be some person 
some grave, superficial person who will take 
the scientific mind up scientifically, shake it 
and filter it, put it under the microscope, stare 
at it with a telescope, stick the X-ray through 
it, lay it on the operating table show what is 
the matter with it even to itself. Anything 
that is said about the scientific mind which is 
not said in a big, bow-wow, scientific, imper- 
sonal, out-of-the-universe sort of way will not 
go very far. 

And yet, the things that need to be said 
about the scientific mind the things that need 
to be done for it need to be said and done so 
very much, that it seems as if almost any one 
might help. So I am going to keep on trying. 
Let no one suppose, however, that because I 
have turned around the corner into another 
chapter, I am setting myself up as a sudden 
and new authority on the scientific mind. I do 
not tell how it feels to be scientific. I merely 
tell how it looks as if it felt. 

I have never known a great scientist, and I 
can only speak of the kind of scientist I have 
generally met the kind every one meets now- 
adays, the average, bare scientist. He always 
looks to me as if he had a grudge against the 
universe jealous of it or something. There 
are so many things in it he cannot know and 
that he has no use for unless he does. It 

<>n 1fceepin0 Bacb tber in Countenance 


always seems to me (perhaps it seems so to 
most of us in this world, who are running 
around and enjoying things and guessing on 
them) that the average scientist has a kind of 
dreary and disgruntled look, a look of feeling 
left out. Nearly all of the universe goes to 
waste with a scientist. He fixes himself so 
that it has to. If a man cannot get the good of 
a thing until he knows it and knows all of it, 
he cannot expect to be happy in this universe. 
There are no conveniences for his being happy 
in it. It is the wrong size, to begin with. 
Exact knowledge at its best, or even at its 
worst, does not let a man into very many things 
in a universe like this one. A large part of it 
is left over with a scientist. It is the part that 
is left over which makes him unhappy. 

I am not claiming that a scientist, simply be- 
cause he is a scientist, is any unhappier or 
needs to be any unhappier than other men are. 
He does not need to be. It all comes of a kind 
of brutal, sweeping, overriding prejudice he 
has against guessing on anything. 

n IReeps 
ing acb 
Qtbcr in 

n IReeping Eacb tber in 

I do not suppose that my philosophising on 
this subject a sort of slow, peristaltic action 
of my own mind is of any particular value; 


Xost Hrt of IReabing 

n TRecps 
ing Eacb 
tbcr in 

that it really makes any one feel any better ex- 
cept myself. 

But it has just occurred to me that I may 
have arisen, quite as well as not, without 
knowing it, to the dignity of the commonplace. 

' ' The man who thinks he is playing a solo in 
any human experience," says this morning's 
paper, ' ' only needs a little more experience to 
know that he is a member of a chorus. ' ' I 
suspect myself of being a Typical Case. The 
scientific mind has taken possession of all the 
land. It has assumed the right of eminent do- 
main in it, and there must be other human be- 
ings here and there, I am sure, standing aghast 
at learning in our modern day, even as I am, 
their whys and wherefores working within 
them, trying to wonder their way out in this 

All that is necessary, as I take it, is for one 
or the other of us to speak up in the world, 
barely peep in it, make himself known wher- 
ever he is, tell how he feels, and he will find 
he is not alone. Then we will get together. 
We will keep each other in countenance. We 
will play with our minds if we want to. We 
will take the liberty of knowing rows of things 
we don't know all about, and we will be as 
happy as we like, and if we keep together we 
will manage to have a fairly educated look be- 
sides. I am very sure of this. But it is the 
sort of thing a man cannot do alone. If he 
tries to do it with any one else, any one that 

1keep(n0 }acb tber in Countenance 

happens along, he is soon come up with. It 
cannot be done in that way. There is no one 
to whom to turn. Almost every mind one 
knows in this modern educated world is a sus- 
picious, unhappy, abject, helpless, scientific 

It is almost impossible to find a typical edu- 
cated mind, either in this country or in Europe 
or anywhere, that is not a rolled-over mind, 
jealous and crushed by knowledge day and 
night, and yet staring at its ignorance every- 
where. The scientist is almost always a man 
who takes his mind seriously, and he takes the 
universe as seriously as he takes his mind. In- 
stead of glorying in a universe and being a lit- 
tle proud of it for being such an immeasurable, 
unspeakable, unknowable success, his whole 
state of being is one of worry about it. The 
universe seems to irritate him somehow. Has 
he not spent years of hard labour in making 
his mind over, in drilling it into not-thinking, 
into not-inferring things, into not-knowing 
anything he does not know all of ? And yet 
here he is and here is his whole life does it not 
consist in being baffled by germs and bacilli, 
crowed over by atoms, trampled on by the 
stars ? It is getting so that there is but one 
thing left that the modern, educated scientific 
mind feels that it knows, and that is the impos- 
sibility of knowledge. Certainly if there is any- 
thing in this wide world that can possibly be 
in a more helpless, more pulp-like state than 

On Ifteepa 
ing Eacb 
tbec in 


Xost Hrt of 


of Science 

the scientific mind in the presence of something 
that cannot be known, something that can 
only be used by being wondered at (which is 
all most of the universe is for), it has yet to be 
pointed out. 

He may be better off than he looks, and I 
don't doubt he quite looks down on me as, 

A mere poet, 

The Chanticleer of Things, 

Who lives to flap his wings 

It's all he knows, 

They 're never furled ; 

Who plants his feet 

On the ridge-pole of the world 

And crows. 

Still, I like it very well. I don't know any- 
thing better that can be done with the world, 
and as I have said before I say again, my 
friend and brother, the scientist, is either very 
great or very small, or he is moderately, de- 
cently unhappy. At least this is the way it 
looks from the ridge-pole of the world. 


Gbe IRomance of Science 

Science is generally accredited with being 
very matter-of-fact. But there has always been 
one romance in science from the first, its ro- 
mantic attitude toward itself. It would be hard 
to find any greater romance in modern times. 

IRomance of Science 


The romance of science is the assumption that 
man is a plain, pure-blooded, non-inferring, 
mere-observing being and that in proportion as 
his brain is educated he must not use it. "De- 
ductive reasoning has gone out with the nine- 
teenth century," says The Strident Voice. 
This is the one single inference that the scien- 
tific method seems to have been able to make 
the inference that no inference has a right 
to exist. 

So far as I can see, if there are going to be 
inferences anyway, and one has to take one's 
choice in inferring, I would rather have a few 
inferences on hand that I can live with every 
day than to have this one huge, voracious in- 
ference (the scientist's) which swallows all the 
others up. For that matter, when the scientist 
has actually made it, this one huge guess that 
he has n't a right to guess, what good does it 
do him ? He never lives up to it, and all the 
time he has his poor, miserable theory hanging 
about him, dogging him day and night. Does 
he not keep on guessing in spite of himself? 
Does he not live plumped up against mystery 
every hour of his life, crowded on by ignor- 
ance, forced to guess if only to eat? Is he not 
browbeaten into taking things for granted 
whichever way he turns ? He becomes a dole- 
ful, sceptical, contradictory, anxious, disagree- 
able, disapproving person as a matter of course. 

One would think, in the abstract, that a cer- 
tain serenity would go with exact knowledge; 

of Science 


OLost Hrt of 


of Science 

and it would, if a man were willing to put up 
with a reasonable amount of exact knowledge, 
eke it out with his brains, some of it; but when 
he wants all the exact knowledge there is, and 
nothing else but exact knowledge, and is not 
willing to mix his brains with it, it is different. 
When a man puts his whole being into a vise 
of exact knowledge, he finds that he has about 
as perfect a convenience for being miserable 
as could possibly be devised. He soon becomes 
incapable of noticing things or of enjoying 
things in the world for themselves. With one or 
two exceptions, I have never known a scientist 
to whom his knowing a thing, or not knowing 
it, did not seem the only important thing about it. 
Of course when a man's mind gets into this 
dolefully cramped, exact condition, a universe 
like this is not what it ought to be for him. He 
lives too unprotected a life. His whole attitude 
toward the universe becomes one of wishing 
things would keep off of him in it things he 
does not know. Are there not enough things 
he does not know even in his specialty ? And 
as for this eternal being reminded of the others, 
this slovenly habit of " general information " 
that interesting people have this guessing, in- 
ferring, and generalising what is it all for? 
What does it all come to? If a man is after 
knowledge, let him have knowledge, know- 
ledge that is knowledge, let him find a fact, 
anything for a fact, get God into a corner, hug 
one fact and live with it and die with it. 


When a man once gets into this shut-in at- 
titude it is of little use to put a word in, with 
him, for the daily habit of taking the roof off 
one's mind, letting the universe play upon it 
instead of trying to bore a hole in it some- 
where. " What does it avail after all, after it 
is all over, after a long life, even if the hole is 
bored," I say to him, " to stand by one's little 
hole and cry, ' Behold, oh, human race, this 
Gimlet Hole which I have bored in infinite 
space! Let it be forever named for me.' " 
And in the meantime the poor fellow gets no 
joy out of living. He does not even get credit 
for his not-living, seventy years of it. He 
fences off his little place to know a little of no- 
thing in, becomes a specialist, a foot note to 
infinite space, and is never noticed afterwards 
(and quite reasonably) by any one not even 
by himself. 



I am not saying that this is the way a scien- 
tist a mere scientist, one who has the fixed 
habit of not reading books through their backs 
really feels. It is the way he ought to feel. 
As often as not he feels quite comfortable. One 
sees one every little while (the mere scientist) 
dropping the entire universe with a dull thud 
and looking happy after it. 

But the best ones are different. Even those 


Xost Hrt ot 

who are not quite the best are different. It is 
really a very rare scientist who joggles content- 
edly down without qualms, or without delays, 
to a hole in space. There is always a capabil- 
ity, an apparently left-over capability in him. 
What seems to happen is, that when the aver- 
age human being makes up his mind to it, in- 
sists on being a scientist, the lyord keeps a 
remnant of happiness in him a gnawing on 
the inside of him which will not let him rest. 

This remnant of happiness in him, his soul, 
or inferring organ, or whatever it may be, 
makes him suspect that the scientific method 
as a complete method is a false, superficial, 
and dangerous method, threatening the very 
existence of all knowledge that is worth know- 
ing on the earth. He begins to suspect that 
a mere scientist, a man who cannot even make 
his mind work both ways, backwards or for- 
wards, as he likes (the simplest, most rudi- 
mentary motion of a mind), inductively or 
deductively, is bound to have something left 
out of all of his knowledge. He sees that the 
all-or-nothing assumption in knowledge, to say 
nothing of not applying to the arts, in which it 
is always sterile, does not even apply to the 
physical sciences to the mist, dust, fire, and 
water out of which the earth and the scientist 
are made. 

For men who are living their lives as we are 
living ours, in the shimmer of a globule in 
space, it is not enough that we should lift our 

faces to the sky and blunder and guess at a 
God there, because there is so much room be- 
tween the stars, and murmur faintly, ' 'Spiritual 
things are spiritually discerned." By the in- 
finite bones of our bodies, by the seeds of the 
million years that flow in our veins, material 
things are spiritually discerned. There is not 
science enough nor scientific method enough in 
the schools of all Christendom for a man to 
listen intelligently to his own breathing with, 
or to know his own thumb-nail. Is not his own 
heart thundering the infinite through him 
beating the eternal against his sides even 
while he speaks? And does he not know it 
while he speaks ? 

By the time a man 's a Junior or a Senior 
nowadays, if he feels the eternal beating 
against his sides he thinks it must be some- 
thing else. He thinks he ought to. It is a 
mere inference. At all events he has little 
use for it unless he knows just how eternal 
it is. I am speaking too strongly ? I suppose 
I am. I am thinking of my four special 
boys boys I have been doing my living in, 
the last few years. I cannot help speaking a 
little strongly. Two of them two as fine, 
flash-minded, deep-lit, wide-hearted fellows as 

one would like to see, are down at W , being 

cured of inferring in a four years' course at 
the W - Scientific School. Another one, 
who always seemed to me to have real 
genius in him, who might have had a period in 


SLost Hrt ot 

literature named after him, almost, if he 'd 
stop studying literature, is taking a graduate 

course at M , learning that it cannot be 

proved that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. 
He has already become one of these spot- 
lessly accurate persons one expects nowadays. 
(I hardly dare to hope he will even read this 
book of mine, with all his affection for me, 
after the first few pages or so, lest he should 
fall into a low or wondering state of mind.) 
My fourth boy, who was the most promising 
of all, whose mind reached out the farthest, 
who was always touching new possibilities, 
a fresh, warm-blooded, bright-eyed fellow, is 
down under a manhole studying God in the 
N Theological Seminary. 

This may not be exactly a literal statement, 
nor a very scientific way to criticise the scien- 
tific method, but when one has had to sit 
and see four of the finest minds he ever knew 
snuffed out by it, whatever else may be said 
for science, scientific language is not satisfying. 
What is going to happen to us next, in our 
little town, I hardly dare to know. I only 
know that three relentlessly inductive, dull, 

brittle, blase, and springless youths from S 

University have just come down and taken 
possession of our High School. They seem to 
be throwing, as near as I can judge, a spell 
of the impossibility of knowledge over the boys 
we have left. 

I admit that I am in an unreasonable state of 


mind.* I think a great many people are. At 
least I hope so. There is no excuse for not be- 
ing a little unreasonable. Sometimes it almost 
seems, when one looks at the condition of 
most college boys' minds, as if our colleges 
were becoming the moral and spiritual and in- 
tellectual dead-centres of modern life. 

I will not yield to any man in admiration 
for Science holy and speechless Science; 
holier than any religion has ever been yet; 
what religions are made of and are going to be 
made of, nor am I dating my mind three 
hundred years back and trying to pick a 
quarrel with Lord Bacon. I am merely won- 
dering whether, if science is to be taught at 
all, it had not better be taught, in each branch 
of it, by men who are teaching a subject they 
have conceived with their minds instead of a 
subject which has been merely unloaded on 
them, piled up on top of their minds, and which 
their minds do not know anything about. 

No one seems to have stopped to notice what 
the spectacle of science as taught in college is 
getting to be the spectacle of one set of 
minds which has been crunched by knowledge 
crunching another set. Have you never been 
to One, oh Gentle Reader, and watched It, 
watched It when It was working, one of these 
great Endowed Fact-machines, wound up by 
the dead, going round and round, thousands 
and thousands of youths in it being rolled out 

* Fact. 

3Lost Hrt ot 

and chilled through and educated in it, having 
their souls smoothed out of them ? Hundreds 
of human minds, small and sure and hard, 
working away on thousands of other human 
minds, making them small and sure and hard. 
Matter infinite matter everywhere taught 
by More Matter, taught the way Matter 
would teach if it knew how without generalis- 
ing, without putting facts together to make 
truths out of them. 

It would seem, looking at it theoretically, 
that Science, of all things in this world, the stuff 
that dreams are made of; the one boundless 
subject of the earth, face to face and breath to 
breath with the Creator every minute of its life, 
would be taught with a divine touch in it, with 
the appeal to the imagination and the soul, to 
the world-building instinct in a man, the thing 
in him that puts universes together, the thing 
in him that fills the whole dome of space and all 
the crevices of being with the whisper of God. 

But it is not so. Science is great, and great 
scientists are great as a matter of course ; but 
the sciences in the meantime are being taught 
in our colleges in many of them, most of 
them by men whose minds are mere register- 
ing machines. The facts are put in at one end 
(one click per fact) and come out facts at the 
other. The sciences are being taught more 
and more every year by moral and spiritual 
stutterers, men with non-inferring minds, men 
who live in a perfect deadlock of knowledge, 

men who cannot generalise about a fly's wing, 
bashful, empty, limp, and hopeless and dod- 
dering before the commonplacest, sanest, and 
simplest generalisations of human life. In The 
Great Free Show, in our common human peep 
at it, who has not seen them, staggering to 
know what the very children, playing with 
dolls and rocking-horses, can take for granted ? 
Minds which seem absolutely incapable of 
striking out, of taking a good, manly stride on 
anything, mincing in religion, effeminate in 
enthusiasm please forgive me, Gentle Reader, 
I know I ought not to carry on in this fash- 
ion, but have I not spent years in my soul 
(sometimes it seems hundreds of years) in 
being humble in being abject before this 
kind of mind ? It is only a day almost since 
I have found it out, broken away from it, got 
hold of the sky to hoot at it with. I am free 
now. I am not going to be humble longer, be- 
fore it. I have spent years dully wondering be- 
fore this mind; wondering what was the matter 
with me that I could not love it, that I could 
not go where it loved to go, and come when 
it said ' ' Come ' ' to me. I have spent years in 
dust and ashes before it, struggling with my- 
self, trying to make myself small enough to fol- 
low this kind of a mind around, and now the 
scales are fallen from my eyes. When I follow 
An Inductive Scientific Mind now, or try to 
follow it through its convolutions of matter- 
of-fact, its involutions of logic, its wriggling 


Xost Hrt of 1Reat>in0 

through axioms, I smile a new smile and my 
heart laughs within me. If I miss the point, 
I am not in a panic, and if, at the end of the 
seventeenth platitude that did not need to be 
proved, I find I do not know where I am, I 
thank God. 

I know that I am partly unreasonable, and 
I know that in my chosen station on the 
ridge-pole of the world it is useless to criticise 
those who do not even believe, probably, that 
worlds have ridge-poles. It is a bit hard to 
get their attention and I hope the reader will 
overlook it if one seems to speak rather loud 
from ridge-poles. Oh, ye children of The Lit- 
eral ! ye most serene Highnesses, ye archangels 
of Accuracy, the Voices of life all challenge 
you the world around! What are ye, after 
all, but pilers-up of matter, truth-stutterers, 
truth-spellers, sunk in protoplasm to the tops 
of your souls ? What is it that you are going 
to do with us? How many generations of 
youths do you want ? When will souls be al- 
lowed again ? When will they be allowed in 
college ? 

Well, well, I say to my soul, what does it all 
come to ? Why all this ado about it one way or 
the other? Is it not a great, fresh, eager, 
boundless world ? Does it not roll up out of 
Darkness with new children on it, night after 
night ? What does it matter, I say to my soul 
a generation or so from the ridge-pole of the 
world ? The great Sun comes round again. It 

flDonafcs 117 

travels over the tops of seas and mountains. 
Microbes in their dewdrops, seeds in their 
winds, stars in their courses, worms in their 
apples, answer it, and the hordes of the ants 
in their ant-hills run before it. And what does 
it matter after all, under the great Dome, a 
few hordes of factmongers more or less, glim- 
mering and wonderless, crawlers on the bottom 
of the sea of time, lovers of the ooze of know- 
ledge, feeling with slow, myopic mouths at 
Infinite Truth ? 

But when I see my four faces the faces of 
my four special boys, when I hear the college 
bells ringing to them, it matters a great deal. 
My soul will not wait. What is the ridge- 
pole of the world ? The distance of a ridge- 
pole does not count. The extent of a universe 
does not seem to make very much difference. 
The next ten generations do not help very 
much on this one. I go forth in my soul. I 
take hold of the first scientist I meet my 
whole mind pummelling him. * * What is it ? " 
I say, " what is it you are doing with us and 
with the lives of our children ? What is it 
you are doing with yourself ? Truth is not a 
Thing. Did you think it ? Truth is not even 
a Heap of Things. It is a Light. How dare 
you mock at inferring? How dare you to 
think to escape the infinite? You cannot 
escape the infinite even by making yourself 
small enough. It is written that thou shalt be 
infinitely small if thou art not infinitely large. 


Hrt ot 

Not to infer is to contradict the very nature of 
facts. Not to infer is not to live. It is to cease 
to be a fact one's self. What is education if 
one does not infer ? Vacuums rolling around 
in vacuums. Atoms cross-examining atoms. 
And you say you will not guess ? Do you need 
to be cudgelled with a whole universe to begin 
to learn to guess ? What is all your science 
your boasted science, after all, but more raw 
material to make more guesses with ? Is not 
the whole Future Tense an inference ? Is not 
History that which has actually happened a 
mystery ? You yourself are a mere probability, 
and God is a generalisation. What does it 
profit a man to discover The Inductive Method 
and to lose his own soul ? What is The In- 
ductive Method ? Do you think that all these 
scientists who have locked their souls up and a 
large part of their bodies, in The Inductive 
Method, if they had waited to be born by The 
Inductive Method, would ever have heard of 
it ? Being born is one inference and dying is 
another. Man leaves a wake of infinity after 
him wherever he goes, and of course it 's where 
he does n't go. It 's all infinity one way or 
the other." 

And it came to pass in my dream as I lay on 
my bed in the night, I thought I saw Man my 
brother blinking under the dome of space, in- 
finite monad that he is: I saw him with a glass 
in one hand and a Slide of Infinity in the other, 

/IDultipltcatton Uables 119 

and, in my dream, out of His high heaven God 
leaned down to me and said to me, * ' What is .i at *" 

And as I looked I laughed and prayed in my 
heart, I scarce knew which, and " Oh, Most 
Excellent Deity! Who would think it!" I 
cried. " I do not know, but I think / think 
it is a man, thinking he is studying a GERM 
one tiny particle of inimitable Immensity og- 
ling another! " 

And a very pretty sight it is, too, oh Brother 
Monads if we do not take it seriously. 

And what we really need next, oh comrades, 
scientists each under our separate stones is 
the lyaugh Out of Heaven which shall come 
down and save us laugh the roofs of our 
stones off. Then we shall stretch our souls 
with inferences. We shall lie in the great sun 
and warm ourselves. 


flDultiplication Gables 

It would seem to be the main trouble with 
the scientific mind of the second rank that it 
overlooks the nature of knowledge in the thirst 
for exact knowledge. In an infinite world the 
better part of the knowledge a man needs to 
have does not need to be exact. 

These things being as they are, it would seem 
that the art of reading books through their 


SLost Hrt ot IReafcing 


backs is an equally necessary art to a great 
scientist and to a great poet. If it is necessary 
to great scientists and to great poets it is all the 
more necessary to small ones, and to the rest of 
us. It is the only way, indeed, in which an im- 
mortal human being of any kind can get what 
he deserves to have to live his life with a 
whole cross-section of the universe. A gentle- 
man and a scholar will take nothing less. 

If a man is to get his cross-section of the uni- 
verse, his natural share in it, he can only get it 
by living in the qualities of things instead of 
the quantities ; by avoiding duplicate facts, 
duplicate persons, and principles ; by using the 
multiplication table in knowledge (inference) 
instead of adding everything up, by taking all 
things in this world (except his specialty) 
through their spirits and essences, and, in gen- 
eral, by reading books through their backs. 

The problem of cultivating these powers in 
a man, when reduced to its simplest terms, is 
reduced to the problem of cultivating his im- 
agination or organ of not needing to be told 

However much a man may know about wise 
reading and about the principles of economy in 
knowledge, in an infinite world the measure of 
his knowledge is bound to be determined, in 
the long run, by the capacity of his organ of 
not needing to be told things of reading 
books through their backs. 

II On Reading for 


n Changing ne's Conscience 


E were sitting by my fireplace several 
of our club. I had just been reading 

out loud a little thing of my own. I have for- ' ce 

gotten the title. It was something about Books 

that Other People ought to Read, I think. 

I stopped rather suddenly, rather more sud- 

denly than anybody had hoped. At least no- 

body had thought what he ought to say about 

it. And I saw that the company, after a sort 

of general, vague air of having exclaimed pro- 

perly, was settling back into the usual helpless 

silence one expects after the appearance of an 

idea at clubs. 

" Why does n't somebody say something ? " 
I said. 



SLost Hrt ot IReafcing 

On Changs 

ing One's 


P. G. S. of M.: " We are thinking." 

' ' Oh, " I said. I tried to feel grateful. But 
everybody kept waiting. 

I was a good deal embarrassed and was get- 
ting reckless and was about to make the very 
serious mistake, in a club, of seeing if I could 
not rescue one idea by going out after it with 
another, when The Mysterious Person (who is 
the only man in our club whose mind ever 
really comes over and plays in my yard) in the 
goodness of his heart spoke up. * * I have not 
heard anything in a long time," he began (the 
club looked at him rather anxiously), " which 
has done which has made me feel less 
ashamed of myself than this paper. I " 

It seemed to me that this was not exactly a 
fortunate remark. I said I did n't doubt I 
could do a lot of good that way, probably, if I 
wanted to going around the country making 
people less ashamed of themselves. 

" But I don't mean that I feel really ashamed 
of myself about books I have not read," said 
The Mysterious Person. ' ' What I mean is, 
that I have a kind of slinking feeling that I 
ought to a feeling of being ashamed for not 
being ashamed." 

I told The M. P. that I thought New Eng- 
land was full of people just like him people 
with a lot of left-over consciences. 

The P. G. S. of M. wanted to know what I 
meant by that. 

I said I thought there were thousands of 

Cbanging ne's Conscience 


people one sees them everywhere in Massa- 
chusetts fairly intelligent people, people 
who are capable of changing their minds 
about things, but who can't change their 
consciences. Their consciences seem to keep 
hanging on to them, in the same set way 
somehow with or without their minds. 
" Some people's consciences don't seem to no- 
tice much, so far as I can see, whether they 
have minds connected with them or not." 
"Don't you know what it is," I appealed to 
the P. G. S. of M., " to get everything all fixed 
up with your mind and your reason and your 
soul ; that certain things that look wrong are 
all right, the very things of all others that you 
ought to do and keep on doing, and then have 
your conscience keep right on the same as it 
always did tatting them up against you ? " 

The P. G. S. of M. said something about not 
spending very much time thinking about his 

I said I did n't believe in it, but I thought 
that if a man had one, it was apt to trouble him 
a little off and on especially if the one he had 
was one of these left-over ones. " If you had 
one of these consciences I mean the kind of 
conscience that pretends to belong to you, and 
acts as if it belonged to some one else, ' ' I said 
"one of these dead-frog-leg, reflex-action 
consciences, working and twitching away on 
you day and night, the way I have, you 'd 
have to think about it sometimes. You 'd get 

On Cbangs 
ing tie's 



OLost Hrt ot 1Rea&in0 

n tbe Uns 

of JEr* 


so ashamed of it. You 'd feel trifled with so. 
You 'd -- " 

The P. G. S. of M. said something about not 
being very much surprised over my case. He 
said that people who changed their minds as 
often as I did could n't reasonably expect con- 
sciences spry enough. 

His general theory seemed to be that I had 
a conscience once and wore it out. 

11 It 's getting to be so with everybody nowa- 
days," he said. "Nobody is settled. Ev- 
erything is blown about. We do not respect 
tradition either in ourselves or in the life about 
us. No one listens to the Voice of Experi- 
ence. ' ' 

" There she blows! " I said. I knew it was 
coming sooner or later. I added that one of 
the great inconveniences of life, it seemed to 
me, was the Intolerance of Experienced People. 


tbe Intolerance of Eyperiencet) 

It is generally assumed by persons who have 
taken the pains to put themselves in this very 
disagreeable class, that people in general all 
other people are as inexperienced as they 
look. If a man speaks on a subject at all in 
their presence, they assume he speaks autobio- 
graphically. These people are getting thicker 

intolerance ot Bjperiencefc people 


every year. One can't go anywhere without 
finding them standing around with a kind of 
" How-do-you-know ? " and " Did-it-happen- 
to-you ? ' ' air every time a man says something 
he knows by well by seeing it perfectly 
plain seeing it. One does n't need to stand up 
to one's neck in experience, in a perfect muck 
of experience, in order to know things, in order 
to know they are there. People who are experi- 
enced within an inch of their lives, submerged 
in experience, until all you can see of them is 
a tired look, are always calling out to the man 
who sees a thing as he is going by sees it, I 
mean, with his mind; sees it without having 
to put his feet in it they are always calling 
out to him to come back and be with them, and 
know life, as they call it, and duck under to 
Experience. Now, to say nothing of living 
with such persons, it is almost impossible to 
talk with them. It is n't safe even to philo- 
sophise when they are around. If a man vent- 
ures the assertion in their presence that what 
a woman loves in a lover is complete subjuga- 
tion they argue that either he is a fool and is 
asserting what he has not experienced, or he is 
still more of one and has experienced it. The 
idea that a man may have several principles 
around him that he has not used yet does not 
occur to them. The average amateur mother, 
when she belongs to this type, becomes a per- 
fect bigot toward a maiden aunt who advances, 
perhaps, some harmless little Froebel idea. She 

n tbe Una 

of J$* 




OF ./ 


OLost Hrt ot 

On tbe 1fn= 


swears by the shibboleth of experience, and 
every new baby she has makes her more disa- 
greeable to people who have not had babies. 
The only way to get acquainted with her is to 
have a baby. She assumes that a motherless 
woman has a motherless mind. The idea that 
a rich and bountiful womanhood, which is sav- 
ing its motherhood up, which is free from the 
absorption and the haste, keenly observant and 
sympathetic, may come to a kind of motherly 
insight, distinctly the result of not being ex- 
perienced, does not occur to her. The art of 
getting the result the spirit of experience, 
without paying all the cost of the experience 
itself needs a good word spoken for it nowa- 
days. Some one has yet to point out the value 
and power of what might be called The Maiden- 
Aunt Attitude toward Life. The world has 
had thousands of experienced young mothers 
for thousands of years experienced out of 
their wits piled up with experiences they 
don't know anything about; but, in the mean- 
time, the most important contribution to the 
bringing-up of children in the world that has 
ever been known the kindergarten was 
thought of in the first place by a man who was 
never a mother, and has been developed en- 
tirely in the years that have followed since by 
maiden aunts. 

The spiritual power and manifoldness and 
largeness which is the most informing quality 
of a really cultivated man comes from a certain 

Ibavimj ne's Bjperience Bone ut 


refinement in him, a gift of knowing by tast- 
ing. He seems to have touched the spirits of 
a thousand experiences we know he never has 
had, and they seem to have left the souls of 
sorrows and joys in him. He lives in a kind 
of beautiful magnetic fellowship with all real 
life in the world. This is only possible by a 
sort of unconscious economy in the man's na- 
ture, a gift of not having to experience things. 
Avoiding experience is one of the great cre- 
ative arts of life. We shall have enough before 
we die. It is forced upon us. We cannot even 
select it, most of it. But, in so far as we can 
select it, in one's reading, for instance, it 
behooves a man to avoid experience. He at 
least wants to avoid experience enough to have 
time to stop and think about the experience he 
has; to be sure he is getting as much out of his 
experience as it is worth. 


n Ibaving ne's JEyperience IDone 

' ' But how can one avoid an experience ? ' ' 
By heading it off with a principle. Princi- 
ples are a lot of other people's experiences, in 
a convenient form a man can carry around with 
him, to keep off his own experiences with. 

No other rule for economising knowledge 
can quite take the place, it seems to me, of 

On Ifoavtmj 
Bone Out 


OLost Hrt of 

it ttmvtng 
ne'e Efs 

Done Out 

reading for principles. It economises for a 
man both ways at once. It not only makes it 
possible for a man to have the whole human 
race working out his life for him, instead of 
having to do it all himself, but it makes it pos- 
sible for him to read anything he likes, to get 
something out of almost anything he does not 
like, which he is obliged to read. If a man has 
a habit of reading for principles, for the law 
behind everything, he cannot miss it. He 
cannot help learning things, even from people 
who don't know them. 

The other evening when The P. G. S. of M. 
came into my study, he saw the morning paper 
lying unopened on the settle by the fireplace. 

" Have n't you read this yet ? " he said. 

"No, not to-day." 

" Where are you, anyway ? Why not ? " 

I said I had n't felt up to it yet, did n't feel 
profound enough something to that effect. 

The P. G. S. of M. thinks a newspaper 
should be read in ten minutes. He looked over 
at me with a sort of slow, pitying, Boston-Pub- 
lic-Iyibrary expression he has sometimes. 

I behaved as well as I could took no notice 
for a minute. 

"The fact is, I have changed," I said, 
" about papers and some things. I have times 
of thinking I 'm improved considerably," I 
added recklessty. 

Still the same pained Boston-Public-Library 
expression only turned on a little harder. 

1ba\?tn0 tie's Experience Bone ut 


" Seems to me," I said, " when a man can't 
feel superior to other people in this world, he 
might at least be allowed the privilege of feel- 
ing superior to himself once in a while spells 
of it. 

He intimated that the trouble with me was 
that I wanted both. I admitted that I had 
cravings for both. I said I thought I 'd be a 
little easier to get along with, if they were 
more satisfied. 

He intimated that I was easier to get along 
with than I ought to be, or than I seemed to 
think I was. He did not put it in so many 
words. The P. G. S. of M. never says any- 
thing that can be got hold of and answered. 
Finally I determined to answer him whether 
he had said anything or not. 

!< Well," I said, "I may feel superior to 
other people sometimes. I may even feel su- 
perior to myself, but I have n't got to the 
point where I feel superior to a newspaper to 
a whole world at once. I don't try to read it in 
ten minutes. I don't try to make a whole day 
of a whole world, a foot-note to my oatmeal 
mush! I don't treat the whole human race, 
trooping past my breakfast, as a parenthesis in 
my own mind. I don't try to read a great, 
serious, boundless thing like a daily news- 
paper, unfolded out of starlight, gleaner of a 
thousand sunsets around a world, and talk at 
the same time. I don't say, ' There 's noth- 
ing in it,' interrupt a planet to chew my food, 

On Ibaving 
ne'a TBx 

Done Out 


3Lost Hrt of TReafcing 

n Ifoavfng 
ne'g Er 
Bone at 

throw a planet on the floor and look for my 
hat. . . . Nations lunging through space 
to say good-morning to me, continents flashed 
around my thoughts, seas for the boundaries of 
my day's delight . . . the great God shin- 
ing over all ! And may He preserve me from 
ever reading a newspaper in ten minutes ! ' ' 

I have spent as much time as any one, I 
think, in my day, first and last, in feeling su- 
perior to newspapers. I can remember when 
I used to enjoy it very much the feeling, I 
mean. I have spent whole half-days at it, 
going up and down columns, thinking they 
were not good enough for me. 

Now when I take up a morning paper, half- 
dread, half-delight, I take it up softly. My 
whole being trembles in the balance before it. 
The whole procession of my soul, shabby, love- 
less, provincial, tawdry, is passed in review 
before it. It is the grandstand of the world. 
The vast and awful Roll-Call of the things I 
ought to be the things I ought to love in the 
great world voice sweeps over me. It reaches 
its way through all my thoughts, through the 
minutes of my days. " Where is thy soul? 
Oh, where is thy soul?" the morning paper, 
up and down its columns, calls to me. There 
are days that I ache with the echo of it. 
There are days when I dare not read it until 
the night. Then the voice that is in it grows 
gentle with the darkness, it may be, and is 
stilled with sleep. 

1Rea&in0 a Iftewspaper in Tien /HMnutes 


n IReaMng a Wewspaper in 
Gen flDinutee 

I am not saying it does not take a very intel- 
ligent man to read a newspaper in ten minutes 
squeeze a planet at breakfast and drop it. I 
think it does. But I am inclined to think that 
the intelligent man who reads a newspaper in 
ten minutes is exactly the same kind of intelli- 
gent man who could spend a week reading it 
if he wanted to, and not waste a minute. And 
he might want to. He simply reads a news- 
paper as he likes. He is not confined to one 
way. He does not read it in ten minutes be- 
cause he has a mere ten-minute mind, but be- 
cause he merely has the ten minutes. Rapid 
reading and slow reading are both based, with 
such a man, on appreciation of the paper and 
not upon a narrow, literary, Boston-Public- 
Library feeling of being superior to it. 

The value of reading-matter, like other mat- 
ter, depends on what a man does with it. All 
that one needs in order not to waste time in 
general reading is a large, complete set of prin- 
ciples to stow things away in. Nothing really 
needs to be wasted. If one knows where every- 
thing belongs in one's mind or tries to, if 
one takes the trouble to put it there, reading a 
newspaper is one of the most colossal, tremen- 
dous, and boundless acts that can be performed 

tfteabing a 


paper in 



QLost Hrt ot TReafcing 

tfteafcing a 

paper in 

by any one in the whole course of a human 

If there 's any place where a man needs to 
have all his wits about him, to put things into, 
if there 's any place where the next three 
inches can demand as much of a man as a news- 
paper, where is it ? The moment he opens it 
he lays his soul open and exposes himself to 
all sides of the world in a second, to several 
thousand years of a world at once. 

A book is a comparatively safe, unintelligent 
place for a mind to be in. There are at least 
four walls to it a few scantlings over one, pro- 
tecting one from all space. A man has at least 
some remotest idea of where he is, of what may 
drop on him, in a book. It may tax his ca- 
pacity of stowing things away. But he always 
has notice almost always. It sees that he has 
time and room. It has more conveniences for 
fixing things. The author is always there 
besides, a kind of valet to anybody, to help 
people along pleasantly, to anticipate their 
wants. It 's what an author is for. One ex- 
pects it. 

But a man finds it is different in a morning 
paper, rolled out of dreams and sleep into it, 
empty, helpless before a day, all the telegraph 
machines of the world thumping all the night, 
clicked into one's thoughts before one thinks 
no man really has room in him to read a 
morning paper. No man's soul is athletic or 
swift enough. . . . Nations in a sentence. 

General "(Information 


. . . Thousands of years in a minute, phi- 
losophies, religions, legislatures, paleozoics, 
church socials, side by side; stars and gossip, 
fools, heroes, comets infinity on parade, and 
over the precipice of the next paragraph, head- 
long who knows what ! 

Reading a morning paper is one of the su- 
preme acts of presence of mind in a human life. 

General Information 

' ' But what is going to become of us ? ' ' some 
one says, " if a man has to go through ' the 
supreme act of presence of mind in a whole 
human life,' every morning and every morn- 
ing before he goes to business ? It takes as 
much presence of mind as most men have, 
mornings, barely to get up." 

Well, of course, I admit, if a man 's going 
to read a newspaper to toe the line of all his 
convictions ; if he insists on taking the news- 
paper as a kind of this- morning's junction of 
all knowledge, he will have to expect to be a 
rather anxious person. One could hardly get 
one paper really read through in this way in 
one's whole life. If a man is always going 
to read the news of the globe in such a seri- 
ous, sensitive, suggestive, improving, Atlas- 
like fashion, it would be better he had never 
learned to read at all. At all events, if it 's 





Xost Hrt of 1ReaMn0 




a plain question between a man's devouring 
his paper or letting his paper devour him, of 
course the only way to do is to begin the day 
by reading something else, or by reading it in 
ten minutes and forgetting it in ten more. One 
would certainly rather be headlong a mere 
heedless, superficial globe-trotter with one's 
mind, than not to have any mind to be wiped 
out at one's breakfast table, to be soaked up 
into infinity every morning, to be drawn off, 
evaporated into all knowledge, to begin one's 
day scattered around the edges of all the world. 
One would do almost anything to avoid this. 
And it is what always happens if one reads for 
principles pell-mell. 

All that I am claiming for reading for prin- 
ciples is, that if one reads for principles, one 
really cannot miss it in reading. There is al- 
ways something there, and a man who treats a 
newspaper as if it were not good enough for 
him falls short of himself. 

The same is true of desultory reading so- 
called, of the habit of general information, and 
of the habit of going about noticing things- 
noticing things over one's shoulder. 

I am inclined to think that desultory reading 
is as good if not better for a man than any 
other reading he can do, if he organises it 
has habitual principles and swift channels of 
thought to pour it into. I do not think it is at 
all unlikely from such peeps as we common 
mortals get into the minds of men of genius, 

General Unformation 

I 35 

that their desultory reading (in the fine strenu- 
ous sense) has been the making of them. The 
intensely suggestive habit of thought, the pre- 
hensile power in a mind, the power of grasping 
wide-apart facts and impressions, of putting 
them into prompt handfuls, where anything 
can be done with them that one likes, could 
not possibly be cultivated to better advantage 
than by the practice of masterful and regular 
desultory reading. 

Certainly the one compelling trait in a work 
of genius, whether in music, painting, or litera- 
ture, the trait of untraceableness, the semi- 
miraculous look, the feeling things give us 
sometimes, in a great work of art, of being at 
once impossible together, and inevitable to- 
gether, has its most natural background in 
what" would seem at first probably, to most 
minds, incidental or accidental habits of obser- 

One always knows a work of art of the sec- 
ond rank by the fact that one can place one's 
hand on big blocks of material in it almost 
everywhere, material which has been taken 
bodily and moved over from certain places. 
And one always knows a work of art of the 
first rank by the fact that it is absolutely de- 
fiant and elusive. There is a sense of infinity 
a gathered-from -every where sense in it of 
things which belong and have always belonged 
side by side and exactly where they are put, 
but which no one had put there. 




i 3 6 

Xost Hrt ot TCeafcing 



It would be hard to think of any intellectual 
or spiritual habit more likely to give a man a 
bi-sexuai or at least a cross-fertilising mind, 
than the habit of masterful, wilful, elemental, 
desultory reading. The amount of desultory 
reading a mind can do, and do triumphantly, 
may be said to be perhaps the supreme test of 
the actual energy of the mind, of the vital heat 
in it, of its melting-down power, its power of 
melting everything through, and blending ev- 
erything in, to the great central essence of life. 

No more adequate plan, or, as the architects 
call it, no better elevation for a man could pos- 
sibly be found than a daily newspaper of the 
higher type. For scope, points of view, topics, 
directions of interest, catholicity, many-sided- 
ness, world-wideness, for all the raw material 
a large and powerful man must needs be made 
out of, nothing could possibly excel a daily 
newspaper. Plenty of smaller artists have been 
made in the world and will be made again in 
it hothouse or parlour artists men whose 
work has very little floor-space in it, one- or 
two-story men, and there is no denying that 
they have their place, but there never has been 
yet, and there never will be, I venture to say, 
a noble or colossal artist or artist of the first 
rank who shall not have as many stories in 
him as a daily newspaper. The immortal is 
the universal in a man looming up. If the 
modern critic who is looking about in this world 
of ours for the great artist would look where 

General Huformation 

I 37 

the small ones are afraid to go, he would stand 
a fair chance of finding what he is looking for. 
If one were to look about for a general plan, a 
rough draft or sketch of the mind of an Im- 
mortal, he will find that mind spread out before 
him in the interests and passions, the giant 
sorrows and delights of his morning paper. 

I am not coming out in this chapter to defend 
morning papers. One might as well pop up in 
one's place on this globe, wherever one is on it, 
and say a good word for sunrises. What im- 
mediately interests me in this connection is the 
point that if a man reads for principles in this 
world he will have time and take time to be 
interested in a great many things in it. The 
point seems to be that there is nothing too 
great or too small for a human brain to carry 
away with it, if it will have a place to put it. 
All one has to do, to get the good of a man, a 
newspaper, a book, or any other action, a para- 
graph, or even the blowing of a wind, is to 
lift it over to its principle, see it and delight in 
it as a part of the whole, of the eternal, and of 
the running gear of things. Reading for prin- 
ciples may make a man seem very slow at first 
several years slower than other people but 
as every principle he reads with makes it pos- 
sible to avoid at least one experience, and, at 
the smallest calculation, a hundred books, he 
soon catches up. It would be hard to find a 
better device for reading books through their 
backs, for travelling with one's mind, than the 




!Host Hrt of IReafcing 




habit of reading for principles. A principle is 
a sort of universal car-coupling. One can be 
joined to any train of thought in all Christen- 
dom with it, and rolled in luxury around the 
world in the private car of one's own mind. 

But it is not so much as a luxury as a con- 
venience that reading for principles appeals to 
a vigorous mind. It is the short-cut to know- 
ledge. The man who is once started in read- 
ing for principles is not long in distancing the 
rest of us, because all the reading that he does 
goes into growth, is saved up in a few handy, 
prompt generalisations. His whole being be- 
comes alert and supple. He has the under- 
hold in dealing with nature, grips hold the law 
of the thing and rules it. He is capable of far 
reaches where others go step by step. In 
every age of the world of thought he goes 
about giant-like, lifting worlds with a laugh, 
doing with the very playing of his mind work 
which crowds of other minds toiling on their 
crowds of facts could not accomplish. He is 
only able to do this by being a master of prin- 
ciples. He has made himself a man who can 
handle a principle, a sum-total of a thousand 
facts as easily as other men, men with bare 
scientific minds, can handle one of the facts. 
He thinks like a god not a very difficult thing 
to do. Any man can do it after thirty or forty 
years, if he gives himself the chance, if he reads 
for principles, keeps his imagination the way 
Emerson did, for instance sound and alive 

General "[Information 

all through. He does not need to deny that 
the bare scientific method, the hugging of the 
outside of a thing, the being deliberately super- 
ficial and literal the needing to know all of 
the facts, is a useful and necessary method at 
times; but outside of his specialty he takes the 
ground that the scientific method is not the 
normal method through which a man acquires 
his knowledge, but a secondary and useful 
method for verifying the knowledge he has. 
He acquires knowledge through the constant 
exercise of his mind with principles. He is full 
of subtle experiences he never had. He ap- 
pears to other minds, perhaps, to go to the truth 
with a flash, but he probably does not. He 
does not have to go to the truth. He has the 
truth on the premises right where he can get 
at it, in its most convenient, most compact and 
spiritual form. To write or think or act he has 
but to strike down through the impressions, 
the experiences, the saved-up experiences, 
of his life, and draw up their principles. 

A great deal has been said from time to time 
among the good of late about the passing of 
the sermon as a practical working force. A 
great deal has been said among the literary 
about the passing of the essay. Much has been 
said also about the passing of poetry and the 
passing of religion in our modern life. It 
would not be hard to prove that what has been 
called, under the pressure of the moment, the 
passing of religion and poetry, and of the 




SLost Hrt of 



sermon and the essay, could fairly be traced to 
the temporary failure of education, the disap- 
pearance in the modern mind of the power of 
reading for principles. The very farm-hands 
of New England were readers for principles 
once men who looked back of things philo- 
sophers. Philosophers grew like the grass on 
a thousand hills. Everybody was a philosopher 
a generation ago. The temporary obscuration 
of religion and poetry and the sermon and the 
essay at the present time is largely due to the 
fact that generalisation has been trained out of 
our typical modern minds. We are mobbed 
with facts. We are observers of the letter of 
things rather than of the principles and spirits 
of things. The letter has been heaped upon us. 
Poetry and religion and the essay and the ser- 
mon are all alike, in that they are addressed to 
what can be taken for granted in men to sum- 
totals of experience the power of seeing sum- 
totals. They are addressed to generalising 
minds. The essayist of the highest rank in- 
duces conviction by playing upon the power of 
generalisation, by arousing the associations 
and experiences that have formed the princi- 
ples of his reader's mind. He makes his ap- 
peal to the philosophic imagination. 

It is true that a man may not be infallible in 
depending upon his imagination or principle- 
gathering organ for acquiring knowledge, and 
in the nature of things it is subject to correction 
and verification, but as a positive, practical, 



economical working organ in a world as large ut 
as this, an imagination answers the purpose as 
well as anything. To a finite man who finds 
himself in an infinite world it is the one pos- 
sible practicable outfit for living in it. 

Reading for principles is its most natural 



I had finished writing these chapters on the 
philosophic mind, and was just reading them 
over, thinking how true they were, and how 
valuable they were for me, and how I must act 
on them, when I heard a soft ' * Pooh ! ' ' from 
somewhere way down in the depths of my be- 
ing. When I had stopped and thought, I saw 
it was my Soul trying to get my attention. " I 
do not want you always reading for principles," 
said my Soul stoutly, * * reading for a philo- 
sophic mind. I do not want a philosophic 
mind on the premises." 

"Very well," I said. 

! ' You do not want one yourself, ' ' my Soul 
said, ' ' you would be bored to death with one 
with a mind that 's always reading for prin- 
ciples! " 

" I 'm not so sure," I said. 

" You always are with other people's." 

II Well, there J s Meakins," I admitted. 


!!Lo5t Hrt ot 

3But ' You would n't want a Meakins kind of a 

mind, would you ? ' ' (Meakins is always read- 
ing for principles.) 

I refused to answer at once. I knew I did n't 
want Meakins' s, but I wanted to know why. 
Then I fell to thinking. Hence this chapter. 

Meakins has changed, I said to myself. The 
trouble with him is n't that he reads for prin- 
ciples, but he is getting so he cannot read for 
anything else. What a man really wants, it 
seems to me, is the use of a philosophic mind. 
He wants one where he can get at it, where he 
can have all the benefit of it without having to 
live with it. It 's quite another matter when a 
man gives his mind up, his own everyday mind 
the one he lives with lets it be coldly, de- 
liberately philosophised through and through. 
It 's a kind of disease. 

When Meakins visits me now, the morning 
after he is gone I take a piece of paper and 
sum his visit up in a row of propositions. 
When he came before five years ago his visit 
was summed up in a great desire in me, a lift, 
a vow to the universe. He had the same ideas, 
but they all glowed out into a man. They 
came to me as a man and for a man a free, 
emancipated, emancipating, world - loving, 
world-making man a man out in the open, 
making all the world his comrade. His appeal 
was personal. 

Visiting with him now is like sitting down 
with a stick or pointer over you and being com- 


pelled to study a map. He does n't care any- JBut 
thing about me except as one more piece of 
paper to stamp his map on. And he does n't 
care anything about the world he has the map 
of, except that it is the world that goes with 
his map. When a man gets into the habit of 
always reading for principles back of things 
back of real, live, particular things he be- 
comes inhuman. He forgets the things. 
Meakins bores people, because he is becoming 
inhuman. He treats human beings over and 
over again unconsciously, when he meets them, 
as mere generalisations on legs. His mind 
seems a great sea of abstractions just a few 
real things floating palely around in it for illus- 
trations. When I try to rebuke him for being 
a mere philosopher or man without hands, he 
is "setting his universe in order," he says 
making his surveys. He may be living in his 
philosophic mind now, breaking out his intel- 
lectual roads but he is going to travel on them 
later, he explains. 

In the meantime I notice one thing about 
the philosophic mind. It not only does not do 
things. It cannot even be talked with. It is 
not interested in things in particular. There 
is something garrulously, pedagogically unreal 
about it, at least there is about Meakins' s. 
You cannot so much as mention a real or par- 
ticular thing to Meakins but he brings out a 
row of fifteen or twenty principles that go 
with it, which his mind has peeked around and 


OLost Hrt of 

Cut found behind it. By the time he has floated 
out about fifteen of them of these principles 
back of a thing you begin to wonder if the 
thing was there for the principles to be back of. 
You hope it was n't. 

As fond as I am of him, I cannot get at him 
nowadays in a conversation. He is always just 
around back of something. He is a ghost. I 
come home praying Heaven, every time I see 
him, not to let me evaporate. He talks about 
the future of humanity by the week, but I 
find he does n't notice humanity in particu- 
lar. You cannot interest him in talking to 
him about himself, or even in letting him do 
his own talking about himself. He is a mere 
detail to himself. You are another detail. 
What you are and what he is are both mere 
footnotes to a philosophy. All history is a foot- 
note to it or at best a marginal illustration. 
There is no such thing as communing with 
Meakins unless you use (as I do) a torpedo or 
battering-ram as a starter. If you let him have 
his way he sits in his chair and in his deep, 
beautiful voice addresses a row of remarks to 
The Future in General the only thing big 
enough or worth while to talk to. He sits 
perfectly motionless (except tie whites of his 
eyes) and talks deeply and tenderly and in- 
structively to the Next Few Hundred Years 
to posterity, to babes not yet in their mothers' 
wombs, while his dearest friends sit by. 

If ever there was a man who could take a 


whole roomful of warm, vital people, sitting ut 
right next to him, pulsing and glowing in their 
joys and their sins, and with one single heroic 
motion of an imperious hand drop them softly 
and lovingly over into Fatuity and Oblivion in 
five minutes and leave them out of the world 
before their own eyes, it is Theophilus Mea- 
kins. I try sometimes but I cannot really do 

He does not really commune with things or 
with persons at all. He gets what he wants 
out of them. You feel him putting people, 
when he meets them, through his philosophy. 
He makes them over while they wait, into ex- 
tracts. A man may keep on afterward living 
and growing, throbbing and being, but he does 
not exist to Meakins except in his bottle. A 
man cannot help feeling with Meakins after- 
ward the way milk feels probably, if it could 
only express it, when it 's been put through 
one of these separators, had the cream taken 
off of it. Half the world is skim-milk to him. 
But what does it matter to Meakins ? He has 
them in his philosophy. He does the same 
way with things as with people. He puts in 
all nature as a parenthesis, and a rather conde- 
scending, explanatory one at that, a symbol, a 
kind of beckoning, an index-finger to God. 
He never notices a tree for itself. A great elm 
would have to call out to him, fairly shout at 
him, right under its arms: " Oh, Theophilus 
Meakins, author of The Habit of Eternity^ 


Hrt of 

3But author of The Evolution of the Ego look 
at MB, I also am alive, even as thou art. 
Canst thou not stop one moment and be glad 
with me ? Have I not a thousand leaves glis- 
tening and glorying in the great sun ? Have 
I not a million roots feeling for the stored-up 
light in the ground, reaching up God to me 
out of the dark ? Have I not ' ' ' ' It is one of 
the principles of the flux of society, ' ' breaks in 
Theophilus Meakins, "as illustrated in all the 
processes of the natural world the sap of this 
tree, ' ' said he, ' ' for instance, ' ' brushing the elm- 
tree off into space, ' * that the future of mankind 

depends and always must depend upon " 

" The flux of society be ," said I in holy 

wrath. I stopped him suddenly, the elm-tree 
still holding its great arms above us. ' ' Do 
you suppose that God," I said, " is in any such 
small business as to make an elm-tree like this 
like THIS (look at it, man!), and put it on 
the earth, have it waving around on it, just to 
illustrate one of your sermons? Now, my dear 
fellow, I 'm not going to have you lounging 
around in your mind with an elm-tree like this 
any longer. I want you to come right over to 
it, ' ' said I, taking hold of him, ' ' and sit down 
on one of its roots, and lean up against its 
trunk and learn something, live with it a min- 
ute get blessed by it. The flux of society can 
wait," I said. 

Meakins is always tractable enough, when 
shouted at, or pounded on a little. We sat 

But 147 

down under the tree for quite a while, perfectly ut 
still. I can't say what it did for Meakins. But 
it helped me just barely leaning against the 
trunk of it helped me, under the circumstances, 
a great deal. 

No one will believe it, I suppose, but we 
hadn't gotten any more than fifteen feet away 
from the shadow of that tree when ' ' The 
principles of the flux of society," said he, 
" demand " 

" Now, my dear fellow," I said, " there are 
a lot more elm- trees we really ought to take in, 
on this walk. We ' ' 

1 ' I SAY ! ' ' said Meakins, his great voice 
roaring on my little polite, opposing sentence 
like surf over a pebble, * ' that the princi- 
ples " 

Then I grew wroth. I always do when 
Meakins treats what I say just as a pebble to 
get more roar out of, on the great bleak shore 
of his thoughts. " No one says anything! " I 
cried ; * ' if any one says anything if you say 
another word, my dear fellow, on this walk, I 
will sing Old Hundred as loud as I can all the 
way home." 

He promised to be good after a half-mile or 
so. I caught him looking at me, harking back 
to an old, wonderfully sweet, gentle, human, 
understanding smile he has or used to have 
before he was a philosopher. 

Then he quietly mentioned a real thing and 
we talked about real things for four miles. 

i 4 8 

Slost Brt ot 1Rea&in0 

ut I remember we sat under the stars that night 
after the world was folded up, and asleep, and 
I think we really felt the stars as we sat there 
not as a roof for theories of the world, but we 
felt them as stars shared the night with them, 
lit our hearts at them. Then we silently, hap- 
pily, at last, both of us, like awkward, won- 
dering boys, went to bed. 


III Reading Down 


IT is always the same way. I no sooner get 
a good, pleasant, interesting, working idea, 
like this " Reading for Principles," arranged 
and moved over, and set up in my mind, than 
some insinuating, persistent, concrete human 
being comes along, works his way in to illus- 
trate it, and spoils it. Here is Meakins, for 
instance. I have been thinking on the other 
side of my thought every time I have thought 
of him. I have no more sympathy than any 
one with a man who spends all his time going 
round and round in his reading and everything 
else, swallowing a world up in principles. 
"Why should a good, live, sensible man," I 

Hrt of IReafcing 

<$>n 3Belmj 

feel like saying, ' ' go about in a world like this 
stowing his truths into principles, where, half 
the time, he cannot get at them himself, and 
no one else would want to?" Going about 
swallowing one's experience up in principles is 
very well so far as it goes. But it is far better 
to go about swallowing up one's principles into 
one's self. 

A man who has lived and read into himself 
for many years does not need to read very 
many books. He has the gist of nine out of 
ten new books that are published. He knows, 
or as good as knows, what is in them, by tak- 
ing a long, slow look at his own heart. So 
does everybody else. 


n Being Xonel? witb a ffioofc 

The P. G. S. of M. said that as far as he 
could make out, judging from the way I talked, 
my main ambition in the world seemed to be to 
write a book that would throw all publishers 
and libraries out of employment. " And what 
will your book amount to, when you get it 
done?" he said. "If it 's convincing the 
way it ought to be it will merely convince 
people they ought n't to have read it." 

"And that's been done before," I said. 
" Almost any book could do it." I ventured 
to add that I thought people grew intelligent 

JSeing Xonels witb a JBoofe 

enough in one of my books even in the first 
two or three chapters, not to read the rest of it. 
I said all I hoped to accomplish was to get peo- 
ple to treat other men's books in the same way 
that they treated mine treat everything that 
way take things for granted, get the spirit of 
a thing, then go out and gloat on it, do some- 
thing with it, live with it anything but this 
going on page after page using the spirit of a 
thing all up, reading with it. 

" Reading down through in a book seems a 
great deal more important to me than merely 
reading the book through. ' ' 

I expected that The P. G. S. of M. would ask 
me what I meant by reading down through, 
but he did n't. He was still at large, worry- 
ing about the world. "I have no patience 
with it your idea," he broke out. " It 's all 
in the air. It 's impractical enough, anyway, 
just as an idea, and it 's all the more impracti- 
cal when it 's carried out. So far as I can see, 
at the rate you 're carrying on," said The P. G. 
S. of M., " what with improving the world and 
all with your book, there is n't going to be 
anything but You and your Book left. ' ' 

" Might be worse," I said. "What one 
wants in a book after the first three or four 
chapters, or in a world either, it seems to me, 
is not its facts merely, nor its principles, but 
one 's self one's real relation of one's real 
self, I mean, to some real fact. If worst came 
to worst and I had to be left all alone, I 'd 

On JBeing 


Xost Hrt of 

n JBcing 




rather be alone with myself, I think, than with 
anybody. It 's a deal better than being lonely 
the way we all are nowadays with such a lot 
of other people crowding round, that one has 
to be lonely with, and books and newspapers 
and things besides. One has to be lonely so 
much in civilisation, there are so many things 
and persons that insist on one's coming over 
and being lonely with them, that being lonely 
in a perfectly plain way, all by one's self the 
very thought of it seems to me, comparatively 
speaking, a relief. It 's not what it ought to 
be, but it 's something." 

I feel the same way about being lonely with 
a book. I find that the only way to keep from 
being lonely in a book that is, to keep from 
being crowded on to the outside of it, after the 
first three or four chapters is to read the first 
three or four chapters all over again read 
them down through. I have to get hold of my 
principles in them, and then I have to work 
over my personal relation to them. When I 
make sure of that, when I make sure of my 
personal relation to the author, and to his 
ideas, and there is a fairly acquainted feeling 
with both of us, then I can go on reading for 
all I am worth or all he is worth anyway, 
whichever breaks down first and no more said 
about it. Everything means something to 
everybody when one reads down through. The 
only way an author and reader can keep from 
wasting each other's time, it seems to me, at 

Ifteepimj tber /IDinfcs 


least from having spells of wasting it, is to 
begin by reading down through. 


Ikeeping tber flIMnbs ff 

What I really mean by reading down through 
in a book, I suppose, is reading down through 
in it to myself. I dare say this does not seem 
worthy. It is quite possible, too, that there is 
no real defence for it I mean for my being so 
much interested in myself in the middle of 
other people's books. My theory about it is 
that the most important thing in this world for 
a man's life is his being original in it. Being 
original consists, I take it, not in being differ- 
ent, but in being honest really having some- 
thing in one's own inner experience which one 
has anyway, and which one knows one has, 
and which one has all for one's own, whether 
any one else has ever had it or not. Being 
original consists in making over everything 
one sees and reads, into one's self. 

Making over what one reads into one's self 
may be said to be the only way to have a really 
safe place for knowledge. If a man takes his 
knowledge and works it all over into what he 
is, sense and spirit, it may cost more at first, 
but it is more economical in the long run, be- 
cause none of it can possibly be lost. And it 
can all be used on the place. 


%ost Hrt of IReafcing 


I do not know how it is with others nowa- 
days, but I find that this feeling of originality 
in an experience, in my own case, is exceed- 
ingly hard to keep. It has to be struggled for. 

Of course, one has a theory in a general way 
that one does not want an original mind if he 
has to get it by keeping other people's minds 
off, and yet there is a certain sense in which if 
he does not do it at certain times have regu- 
lar periods of keeping other people's minds off, 
he would lose for life the power of ever finding 
his own under them. Most men one knows 
nowadays, if they were to spend all the rest of 
their lives peeling other men's minds off, would 
not get down to their own before they died. It 
seems to be supposed that what a mind is for 
at least in civilisation is to have other men's 
minds on top of it. 

It is the same way in books at least I find 
it so myself when I get to reading in a book, 
reading so fast I cannot stop in it. Nearly all 
books, especially the good ones, have a way of 
overtaking a man riding his originality down. 
It seems to be assumed that if a man ever did 
get down to his own mind by accident, whether 
in a book or anywhere else, he would not know 
what to do with it. 

And this is not an unreasonable assumption. 
Even the man who gets down to his mind reg- 
ularly hardly knows what to do with it part of 
the time. But it makes having a mind inter- 
esting. There 's a kind of pleasant, lusty feel- 

ing in it a feeling of reality and honesty that 
makes having a mind even merely one's own 
mind seem almost respectable. 



IReabino Bacfcwar&s 

Sir Joshua Reynolds gives the precedence to 
the Outside, to authority instead of originality, 
in the early stages of education, because when 
he went to Italy he met the greatest experience 
of his life. He found that much of his orig- 
inality was wrong. 

If Sir Joshua Reynolds had gone to Italy 
earlier he would never have been heard of ex- 
cept as a copyist, lecturer, or colour-commen- 
tator. The real value of Sir Joshua Reynolds' s 
' ' Discourses on Art " is the man in spite of the 
lecturer. What the man stands for is, Be 
original. Get headway of personal experience, 
some power of self-teaching. Then when you 
have something to work on, organs that act 
and react on what is presented to them, con- 
front your Italy whatever it may be and the 
Past, and give yourself over to it. The result 
is paradox and power, a receptive, creative 
man, an obeying and commanding, but self- 
centred and self-poised man, world-open, sub- 
ject to the whole world and yet who has a 
whole world subject to him, either by turns or 
at will. 


&ost Hrt ot 



What Sir Joshua conveys to his pupils is not 
his art, but his mere humility about his art 
i. e., his most belated experience, his finishing 
touch, as an artist. 

The result is that having accidentally re- 
ceived an ideal education, having begun his 
education properly, with self-command, he 
completed his career with a kind of Reynolds- 
ocracy a complacent, teachery, levelling- 
down command of others. While Sir Joshua 
Reynolds was an artist, he became one because 
he did not follow his own advice. The fact 
that he would have followed it if he had had 
a chance shows what his art shows, namely, 
that he did not intend to be any more original 
than he could help. It is interesting, however, 
that having acquired the blemish of originality 
in early youth, he never could get rid of enough 
of it before he died, not to be tolerated among 
the immortals. 

His career is in many ways the most striking 
possible illustration of what can be brought to 
pass when a human being without genius is 
by accident brought up with the same princi- 
ples and order of education and training that 
men of genius have education by one's self ; 
education by others, under the direction of 
one's self. Sir Joshua Reynolds would have 
been incapable of education by others under 
direction of himself, if he had not been kept ig- 
norant and creative and English, long enough 
to get a good start with himself before he went 



down to Italy to run a race with Five Hundred 
Years. In his naive, almost desperate shame 
over the plight of being almost a genius, he 
overlooks this, but his fame is based upon it. 
He devoted his old age to trying to train young 
men into artists by teaching them to despise 
their youth in their youth, because, when he 
was an old man, he despised his. 

What seems to be necessary is to strike a 
balance, in one's reading. 

It 's all well enough ; indeed, there J s no- 
thing better than having one's originality rid- 
den down. One wants it ridden down half the 
time. The trouble comes in making provision 
for catching up, for getting one's breath after 
it. I have found, for instance, that it has be- 
come absolutely necessary so far as I am con- 
cerned, if I am to keep my little mind's start 
in the world, to begin the day by not reading 
the newspaper in the morning. Unless I can 
get headway some thought or act or cry or 
joy of my own something that is definitely in 
my own direction first, there seems to be no 
hope for me all day long. Most people, I 
know, would not agree to this. They like to 
take a swig of all-space, a glance at everybody 
while the world goes round, before they settle 
down to their own little motor on it. They 
like to feel that the world is all right before 
they go ahead. So would I, but I have tried 
it again and again. The world is too much 
for me in the morning. My own little motor 



SLost Hrt of 1Rea&in0 


comes to a complete stop. I simply want to 
watch the Big One going round and round. I 
cannot seem to stop somehow begin puttering 
once more with my L,ittle One. If I begin at 
all, I have to begin at once. In my heart I 
feel the Big One over me all the while, circling 
over me, blessing me. But I keep from notic- 
ing. I know no other way, and drive on. The 
world is getting to be has to be to me a 
purely afternoon or evening affair. I have a 
world of my own for morning use. I hold to 
it, one way or the other, with a cheerful smile 
or like grim death, until the clock says twelve 
and the sun turns the corner, and the book 
drops. It does not seem to make very much 
difference what kind of a world I am in, or 
what is going on in it, so that it is all my own, 
and the only way I know to do, is to say or 
read or write or use the things first in it which 
make it my own the most. The one thing I 
want in the morning is to let my soul light its 
own light, appropriate some one thing, glow it 
through with itself. When I have satisfied the 
hunger for making a bit of the great world over 
into my world, I am ready for the world as a 
world streets and newspapers of it, silent 
and looking, in it, until sleep falls. 

It is because men lie down under it, allow 
themselves to be rolled over by it, that the 
modern newspaper, against its will, has become 
the great distracting machine of modern times. 
As I live and look about me, everywhere I find 

IReafctng JBacfewarfcs 


a great running to and fro of editors across the 
still earth. Every editor has his herd, is a 
kind of bell-wether, has a great paper herd 
flocking at his heels. " Is not the world 
here? " I say, " and am I not here to look at 
it? Can I really see a world better by joining 
a Cook's Excursion on it, sweeping round the 
earth in a column, seeing everything in a col- 
umn, looking over the shoulder of a crowd ? " 
Sometimes it seems as if the whole modern, 
reading, book-and-paper outfit were simply a 
huge, crunching Mass-Machine a machine for 
arranging every man's mind from the outside. 
Originality may be said to depend upon a 
balance of two things, the power of being in- 
terested in other people's minds and the power 
of being more interested in one's own. In its 
last analysis, it is the power a man's mind has 
of minding its own business, which, even in 
another man's book, makes the book real and 
absorbing to him. It is the least compliment 
one can pay a book. The only honest way to 
commune with a real man either in a book or 
out of it is to do one's own share of talking. 
Both the book and the man say better things 
when talked back to. In reading a great book 
one finds it allows for this. In reading a poor 
one the only way to make it worth while, to 
find anything in it, is to put it there. The 
most self-respecting course when one finds 
one's self in the middle of a poor book is to 
turn right around in it, and write it one's self. 



SLost Hrt of 


As has been said by Hoffentotter (in the four- 
teenth chapter of his great masterpiece) : " If 
you find that you cannot go on, gentle reader, 
in the reading of this book, pray read it back- 
wards. ' ' 

The original man, the man who insists on 
keeping the power in a mind of minding its 
own business, is much more humble than he 
looks. All he feels is, that his mind has been 
made more convenient to him than to anybody 
else and that if anyone is going to use it, he 
must. It is not a matter of assuming that one's 
own mind is superior. A very poor mind, on 
the premises, put right in with one's own body, 
carefully fitted to it, to one's very nerves and 
senses, is worth all the other minds in the 
world. It may be conceit to believe this, and 
it may be self-preservation. But, in any case, 
keeping up an interest in one's own mind is 
excusable. Kven the humblest man must ad- 
mit that the first, the most economical, the 
most humble, the most necessary thing for a 
man to do in reading in this world (if he can 
do it) is to keep up an interest in his own mind. 

IV Reading for Facts 


(Balling tbe Meeting to rfcer 

READING for persons makes a man a poet 
or artist, makes him dramatic with his 
mind puts the world-stage into him. 

Reading for principles makes a man a philos- 

Reading for facts makes a man 

"It does n't make a man," spoke up the 
Mysterious Person. 

" Oh, yes," I said, " if he reads a few of 
them if he takes time to do something with 
them he can make a man out of them, if he 
wants to, as well as anything else." 

The great trouble with scientific people and 
others who are always reading for facts is that 
they forget what facts are for. They use their 
minds as museums. They are like Ole Bill 

Calling tbe 

to r&er 


3Lost Brt of IReafcing 

Calling tbe 

to rfcer 

Spear. They take you up into their garret 
and point to a bushel -basketful of something 
and then to another bushel-basket half-full of 
some more. Then they say in deep tones and 
with solemn faces : * * This is the largest collec- 
tion of burnt matches in the world." 

It 's what reading for facts brings a man to, 
generally fact for fact's sake. He lunges 
along for facts wherever he goes. He cannot 
stop. All an outsider can do in such cases, 
with nine out of ten scientific or collecting 
minds, is to watch them sadly in a dull, trance- 
like, helpless inertia of facts, sliding on to 

What seems to be most wanted in reading for 
facts in a world as large as this is some reason- 
able principle of economy. The great problem 
of reading for facts travelling with one's 
mind is the baggage problem. To have every 
fact that one needs and to throw away every 
fact that one can get along without, is the 
secret of having a comfortable and practicable, 
live, happy mind in modern knowledge a 
mind that gets somewhere that gets the 
hearts of things. 

The best way to arrange this seems to be to 
have a sentinel in one's mind in reading. 

Every man finds in his intellectual life, 
sooner or later, that there are certain orders 
and kinds of facts that have a way of coming 
to him of their own accord and without being 
asked. He is half amused sometimes and half 

Calling tbe Meeting to 


annoyed by them. He has no particular use 
for them. He dotes on them some, perhaps, 
pets them a little tells them to go away, but 
they keep coming back. Apropos of nothing, 
in the way of everything, they keep hanging 
about while he attends to the regular business 
of his brain, and say: "Why don't you do 
something with Me ? ' ' 

What I would like to be permitted to do in 
this chapter is to say a good word for these 
involuntary, helpless, wistful facts that keep 
tagging a man's mind around. I know that I 
am exposing myself in standing up for them to 
the accusation that I have a mere irrelevant, 
sideways, intellectually unbusinesslike sort of 
a mind. I can see my championship even 
now being gently but firmly set one side. 
" It 's all of a piece this pleasant, yielding 
way with ideas," people say. "It goes with 
the slovenly, lazy, useless, polite state of mind 
always, and the general ball-bearing view of 

It seems to me that if a man has a few invol- 
untary, instinctive facts about him, facts that 
fasten themselves on to his thoughts whether 
he wants them there or not, facts that keep on 
working for him of their own accord, down 
under the floor of his mind, passing things up, 
running invisible errands for him, making 
short-cuts for him it seems to me that if a 
man has a few facts like this in him, facts that 
serve him like the great involuntary servants of 

Calling tbe 
to rber 


OLost Hrt of IReafcing 

Calling tbe 

Nature, whether they are noticed or not, he 
ought to find it worth his while to do some- 
thing in return, conduct his life with reference 
to them. They ought to have the main chance 
at him. It seems reasonable also that his read- 
ing should be conducted with reference to 

It is no mere literary prejudice, and it seems 
to be a truth for the scientist as well as for the 
poet, that the great involuntary facts in a man's 
life, the facts he does not select, the facts that 
select him, the facts that say to him, ' * Come 
thou and live with us, make a human life out 
of us that men may know us," are the facts of 
all others which ought to have their way sooner 
or later in the great struggling mass-meeting 
of his mind. I have read equally in vain the 
lives of the great scientists and the lives of the 
great artists and makers, if they are not all 
alike in this, that certain great facts have been 
yielded to, have been made the presiding offi- 
cers, the organisers of their minds. In so far 
as they have been great, no facts have been 
suppressed and all facts have been represented ; 
but I doubt if there has ever been a life of a 
powerful mind yet in which a few great facts 
and a great man were not seen mutually at- 
tracted to each other, day and night, getting 
themselves made over into each other, mutu- 
ally mastering the world. 

Certainly, if there is one token rather than 
another of the great scientist or poet in distinc- 

Symbolic Jfacts 


tion from the small scientist or poet, it is the 
courage with which he yields himself, makes 
his whole being sensitive and free before his 
instinctive facts, gives himself fearless up to 
them, allows them to be the organisers of his 

It seems to be the only possible way in read- 
ing for facts that the mind of a man can come 
to anything ; namely, by always having a 
chairman (and a few alternates appointed for 
life) to call the meeting to order. 


Symbolic facts 

If the meeting is to accomplish anything be- 
fore it adjourns sine die, everything depends 
upon the gavel in it, upon there being some 
power in it that makes some facts sit down and 
others stand up, but which sees that all facts 
are represented. 

In general, the more facts a particular fact 
can be said to be a delegate for, the more a 
particular fact can be said to represent other 
facts, the more of the floor it should have. 
The power of reading for facts depends upon a 
man's power to recognise symbolic or sum-total 
or senatorial facts and keep all other facts, the 
general mob or common run of facts, from in- 
terrupting. The amount of knowledge a man 
is going to be able to master in the world 




SLost Hrt ot 1Reat>in0 


depends upon the number of facts he knows 
how to avoid. 

This is where our common scientific train- 
ing the manufacturing of small scientists in 
the bulk breaks down. The first thing that 
is done with a young man nowadays, if he is 
to be made into a scientist, is to take away any 
last vestige of power his mind may have of 
avoiding facts. Everyone has seen it, and yet 
we know perfectly well when we stop to think 
about it that when in the course of his being 
educated a man's ability to avoid facts is taken 
away from him, it soon ceases to make very 
much difference whether he is educated or not. 
He becomes a mere memory let loose in the 
universe goes about remembering everything, 
hit or miss. I never see one of these memory- 
machines going about mowing things down 
remembering them, but that it gives me a kind 
of sad, sudden feeling of being intelligent. I 
cannot quite describe the feeling. I am part 
sorry and part glad and part ashamed of being 
glad. It depends upon what one thinks of, 
one's own narrow escape or the other man, or 
the way of the world. All one can do is to 
thank God, silently, in some safe place in one's 
thoughts, that after all there is a great deal 
of the human race always is in every genera- 
tion who by mere circumstance cannot be edu- 
cated bowled over by their memories. Even 
at the worst only a few hundred persons can be 
made over into reductio-ad-absurdum Stanley 

duplicates : H principle of Economy 


Halls (that is, study science under pupils of 
the pupils of Stanley Hall) and the chances 
are even now, as bad as things are and are get- 
ting to be, that for several hundred years yet, 
Man, the Big Brother of creation, will insist on 
preserving his special distinction in it, the 
thing that has lifted him above the other animals 
his inimitable faculty for forgetting things. 


Duplicates : a principle of 

I do not suppose that anybody would submit 
to my being admitted I was black-balled be- 
fore I was born to the brotherhood of scien- 
tists. And yet it seems to me that there is a 
certain sense in which I am as scientific as 
anyone. It seems to me, for instance, that it 
is a fairly scientific thing to do a fairly mat- 
ter-of-fact thing to consider the actual nature 
of facts and to act on it. When one considers 
the actual nature of facts, the first thing one 
notices is that there are too many of them. 
The second thing one notices about facts is 
that they are not so many as they look. They 
are mostly duplicates. The small scientist 
never thinks of this because he never looks at 
more than one class of facts, never allows him- 
self to fall into any general, interesting, fact- 
comparing habit. The small poet never thinks 

cates : H 



OLost Hrt ot IReafcing 

catcs : H 




of it because he never looks at facts at all. It 
is thus that it has come to pass that the most 
ordinary human being, just living along, the 
man who has the habit of general information, 
is the intellectual superior of the mere scientists 
about him or the mere poets. He is superior 
to the mere poet because he is interested in 
knowing facts, and he is superior to the minor 
scientist because he does not want to know all 
of them, or at least if he does, he never has 
time to try to, and so keeps on knowing some- 

When one considers the actual nature of 
facts, it is obvious that the only possible model 
for a scientist of the first class or a poet of the 
first class in this world, is the average man. 
The only way to be an extraordinary man, 
master of more of the universe than any one 
else, is to keep out of the two great pits God 
has made in it, in which The Educated are 
thrown away the science-pit and the poet-pit. 
The area and power and value of a man's know- 
ledge depend upon his having such a boundless 
interest in facts that he will avoid all facts he 
knows already and go on to new ones. The 
rapidity of a man's education depends upon his 
power to scent a duplicate fact afar off and to 
keep from stopping and puttering with it. Is 
not one fact out of a thousand about a truth as 
good as the other nine hundred and ninety-nine 
to enjoy it with ? If there were not any more 
truths or if there were not so many more things 

duplicates: H principle of jconom 


catcs : H 


to enjoy in this world than one had time for, 
it would be different. It would be superficial, 
I admit, not to climb down into a well and col- 
lect some more of the same facts about it, or 
not to crawl under a stone somewhere and 
know what we know already a little harder. 
But as it is well, it does seem to me that 
when a man has collected one good, representa- 
tive fact about a thing, or at most two, it is 
about time to move on and enjoy some of the 
others. There is not a man living dull enough, 
it seems to me, to make it worth while to do 
any other way. There is not a man living who 
can afford, in a world made as this one is, to 
know any more facts than he can help. Are 
not facts plenty enough in the world ? Are 
they not scattered everywhere ? And there are 
not men enough to go around. Let us take 
our one fact apiece and be off, and be men with 
it. There is always one fact about everything 
which is the spirit of all the rest, the fact a 
man was intended to know and to go on his 
way rejoicing with. It may be superficial 
withal and merely spiritual, but if there is any- 
thing worth while in this world to me, it is not 
to miss any part of being a man in it that any 
other man has had. I do not want to know 
what every man knows, but I do want to get 
the best of what he knows and live every day 
with it. Oh, to take all knowledge for one's 
province, to have rights with all facts, to be 
naive and unashamed before the universe, to 

%ost Hrt of 

catcs: B 


go forth fearlessly to know God in it, to make 
the round of creation before one dies, to share 
all that has been shared, to be all that is, to go 
about in space saying halloa to one's soul in it, 
in the stars and in the flowers and in children's 
faces, is not this to have lived, that there 
should be nothing left out in a man's life that 
all the world has had ? 

V Reading for Results 

Blank paper frame of 

THE P. G. S. of M. read a paper in our club 
the other day which he called ' ' Reading 
for Results. ' ' It was followed by a somewhat 
warm discussion, in the course of which so 
many things were said that were not so that 
the entire club (before any one knew it) had 
waked up and learned something. 

The P. G. S. of M. took the general ground 
that most of the men one knows nowadays had 
never learned to read. They read wastefully. 
Our common schools and colleges, he thought, 
ought to teach a young man to read with a 
purpose. "When an educated young man 
takes up a book," he said, " he should feel 
that he has some business in it, and attend to 




fframe of 


OLost Hrt ot 




frame of 

I said I thought young men nowadays read 
with purposes too much. Purposes were all 
they had to read with. " When a man feels 
that he needs a purpose in front of him, to go 
through a book with, when he goes about in a 
book looking over the edge of a purpose at 
everything, the chances are that he is missing 
nine tenths of what the book has to give. ' ' 

The P. G. S. of M. thought that one tenth 
was enough. He did n't read a book to get 
nine tenths of an author. He read it to get 
the one tenth he wanted to find out which it 

I asked him which tenth of Shakespeare he 
wanted. He said that sometimes he wanted 
one tenth and sometimes another. 

"That is just it," I said. "Everybody 
does. It is at the bottom and has been at the 
bottom of the whole Shakespeare nuisance for 
three hundred years. Every literary man we 
have or have had seems to feel obliged some- 
how to read Shakespeare in tenths. Generally 
he thinks he ought to publish his tenth make 
a streak across Shakespeare with his soul 
before he feels literary or satisfied or feels that 
he has a place in the world. One hardly knows 
a man who calls himself really literary, who 
reads Shakespeare nowadays except with a 
purpose, with some little side-show of his own 
mind. It is true that there are still some people 
not very many perhaps but we all know 
some people who can be said to understand 

36lanfe paper fframe of flDin& 173 

Shakespeare, who never get so low in their Ube 
minds as to have to read him with a purpose; 
but they are not prominent. 

And yet there is hardly any man who would *&"* 
deny that at best his reading with a purpose 
is almost always his more anaemic, official, 
unresourceful, reading. It is like putting a 
small tool to a book and whittling on it, in- 
stead of putting one's whole self to it. One 
might as well try to read most of Shakespeare's 
plays with a screw-driver or with a wrench as 
with a purpose. There is no purpose large 
enough, that one is likely to find, to connect 
with them. Shakespeare himself could not 
have found one when he wrote them in any 
small or ordinary sense. The one possible 
purpose in producing a work of art in any 
age is to praise the universe with it, love 
something with it, talk back to life with it, 
and the man who attempts to read what Shake- 
speare writes with any smaller or less general, 
less overflowing purpose than Shakespeare had 
in writing it should be advised to do his read- 
ing with some smaller, more carefully fitted 
author, one nearer to his size. Of course if 
one wants to be a mere authority on Shake- 
speare or a mere author there is no denying 
that one can do it, and do it very well, by read- 
ing him with some purpose some purpose that 
is too small to have ever been thought of be- 
fore ; but if one wants to understand him, get 
the wild native flavour and power of him, he 


!&ost Hrt of 




jf rame of 


must be read in a larger, more vital and open 
and resourceful spirit as a kind of spiritual 
adventure. Half the joy of a great man, like 
any other great event, is that one can well af- 
ford at least for once to let one's purposes go. 
" To feel one's self lifted out, carried along, 
if only for a little time, into some vast stream of 
consciousness, to feel great spaces around one's 
human life, to float out into the universe, to 
bathe in it, to taste it with every pore of one's 
body and all one's soul this is the one supreme 
thing that the reading of a man like William 
Shakespeare is for. To interrupt the stream 
with dams, to make it turn wheels, intellectual 
wheels (mostly pin-wheels and theories) or any 
wheels whatever, is to cut one's self off from 
the last chance of knowing the real Shakespeare 
at all. A man knows Shakespeare in propor- 
tion as he gives himself, in proportion as he 
lets Shakespeare make a Shakespeare of him, a 
little while. As long as he is reading in the 
Shakespeare universe his one business in it is 
to live in it. He may do no mighty work 
there, pile up a commentary or throw on a 
footnote, but he will be a might y work him- 
self if he let William Shakespeare work on 
him some. Before he knows it the universe 
that Shakespeare lived in becomes his uni- 
verse. He feels the might of that universe 
being gathered over to him, descending upon 
him being breathed into him day and night 
to belong to him always. 

Hbe JSlanfe paper fframe of flDinfc 175 

1 ' The power and effect of a book which is a Ube 
real work of art seems always to consist in the 
way it has of giving the nature of things a 
chance at a man, of keeping things open to the 
sun and air of thought. To those who cannot 
help being interested, it is a sad sight to stand 
by with the typical modern man especially a 
student and watch him go blundering about 
in a great book, cooping it up with purposes." 
' The P. G. S. of M. remarked somewhere at 
about this point that it seemed to him that it 
made a great difference who an author or reader 
was. He suggested that my theory of reading 
with a not-purpose worked rather better with 
Shakespeare than with the Encyclopedia Bri- 
tannica or the Hon. Carroll D. Wright, Com- 
missioner of Statistics, or Ella Wheeler Wilcox. 
I admitted that in reading dictionaries, stat- 
istics, or mere poets or mere scientists it was 
necessary to have a purpose to fall back upon 
to justify one's self. And there was no deny- 
ing that reading for results was a necessary and 
natural thing. The trouble seemed to be, that 
very few people could be depended on to pick 
out the right results. Most people cannot be 
depended upon to pick out even the right di- 
rections in reading a great book. It has to be 
left to the author. It could be categorically 
proved that the best results in this world, either 
in books or in life, had never been attained by 
men who always insisted on doing their own 
steering. The special purpose of a great book 

1 7 6 

SLost Hrt of 



is that a man can stop steering in it, that one 
can give one's self up to the undertow, to the 
cross-current in it. One feels one's self swept 
out into the great struggling human stream 
that flows under life. One comes to truths and 
delights at last that no man, though he had a 
thousand lives, could steer to. Most of us are 
not clear-headed or far-sighted enough to pick 
out purposes or results in reading. We are 
always forgetting how great we are. We do 
not pick out results and could not if we tried 
that are big enough. 


TUsefullp Tflnfintebe& 

The P. G. S. of M. remarked that he thought 
there was such a thing as having purposes in 
reading that were too big. It seemed to him 
that a man who spent nearly all his strength 
when he was reading a book, in trying to use it 
to swallow a universe with, must find it mono- 
tonous. He said he had tried reading a great 
book without any purpose whatever except its 
tangents or suggestions, and he claimed that 
when he read a great book in that way the 
average great book the monotone of innu- 
merable possibility wore on him. He wanted 
to feel that a book was coming to something, 
and if he could n't feel in reading it that the 
book was coming to something he wanted to 




feel at least that he was. He did not say it in 
so many words, but he admitted he did not 
care very much in reading for what I had 
spoken of as a " stream of consciousness. ' ' He 
wanted a nozzle on it. 

I asked him at this point how he felt in read- 
ing certain classics. I brought out quite a nice 
little list of them, but I could n't track him 
down to a single feeling he had thought of 
had had to think of, all by himself, on a classic. 
I found he had all the proper feelings about 
them and a lot of well-regulated qualifications 
besides. He was on his guard. Finally I 
asked him if he had read (I am not going to 
get into trouble by naming it) a certain con- 
temporary novel under discussion. 

He said he had read it. " Great deal of 
power in it," he said. " But it does n't come 
to anything. I do not see any possible artistic 
sense, ' ' he said, ' ' in ending a novel like that. 
It does n't bring one anywhere." 

" Neither does one of Keats' s poems," I said, 
"or Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The odour 
of a rose does n't come to anything bring one 
anywhere. It would be hard to tell what one 
really gets out of the taste of roast beef. The 
sound of the surf on the Atlantic does n't come 
to anything, but hundreds of people travel a 
long way and live in one-windowed rooms and 
rock in somebody else's bedroom rocker, to 
hear it, year after year. Millions of dollars are 
spent in Europe to look at pictures, but if a 



i 7 8 

tHost Hrt of 



man can tell what it is he gets out of a picture 
in so many words there is something very 
wrong with the picture." 

The P. G. S. of M. gave an impatient wave 
of his hand. (To be strictly accurate, he gave 
it in the middle of the last paragraph, just be- 
fore we came to the Atlantic. The rest is Con- 
gressional Record.) And after he had given 
the impatient wave of his hand he looked hurt. 
I accordingly drew him out. He was still 
brooding on that novel. He did n't approve of 
the heroine. 

" What was the matter ? " I said; ''dying in 
the last chapter? " (It is one of those novels 
in which the heroine takes the liberty of dying, 
in a mere paragraph, at the end, and in what 
always has seemed and always will, to some 
people, a rather unsatisfactory and unfinished 

' ' The moral and spiritual issues of a book 
ought to be well, things are all mixed up. 
She dies indefinitely." 

"Most women do," I said. I asked him 
how many funerals of women wives and 
mothers he had been to in the course of his 
life where he could sit down and really think 
that they had died to the point the way they 
do in novels. I did n't see why people should 
be required by critics and other authorities, to 
die to the point in a book more than anywhere 
else. It is this shallow, reckless way that 
readers have of wanting to have everything 

Ube THsefull TUnfinisbefc 


pleasant and appropriate when people die in 
novels which makes writing a novel nowadays 
as much as a man's reputation is worth. 

The P. G. S. of M. explained that it was n't 
exactly the way she died but it was the way 
everything was left left to the imagination. 

I said I was sorry for any human being who 
had lived in a world like this who did n't leave 
a good deal to the imagination when he died. 
The dullest, most uninteresting man that any 
one can ever know becomes interesting in his 
death. One walks softly down the years of his 
life, peering through them. One cannot help 
loving him a little stealthily. One goes out 
a little way with him on his long journey 
feels bound in with him at last actually bound 
in with him (it is like a promise) for ever. The 
more one knows about people's lives in this 
world, the more indefinitely, the more irrele- 
vantly, sometimes almost comically, or as a 
kind of an aside, or a bit of repartee, they end 
them. Suddenly, sometimes while we laugh 
or look, they turn upon us, fling their souls 
upon the invisible, and are gone. It is like a 
last wistful haunting pleasantry death is 
from some of us, a kind of bravado in it as 
one would say, "Oh, well, dying is really after 
all having been allowed one look at a world 
like this a small matter." 

It is true that most people in most novels, 
never having been born, do not really need to 
die that is, if they are logical, and they 



3Lost Hrt ot 



might as well die to the point or as the reader 
likes as in any other way, but if there is one 
sign rather than another that a novel belongs 
to the first class, it is that the novelist claims 
all the privileges of the stage of the world in it. 
He refuses to write a little parlour of a book 
and he sees that his people die the way they 
live, leaving as much left over to the imagina- 
tion as they know how. 

That there are many reasons for the habit of 
reading for results, as it is called, goes without 
saying. It also goes without saying that is, 
no one is saying very much about it that the 
habit of reading for results, such as it is, has 
taken such a grim hold on the modern Ameri- 
can mind that the greatest result of all in read- 
ing, the result in a book that cannot be spoken 
in it, or even out of it, is being unanimously 

The fact seems to need to be emphasised that 
the novel which gives itself to one to be 
breathed and lived, the novel which leaves a 
man with something that he must finish him- 
self, with something he must do and be, is the 
one which " gets a man somewhere" most of 
all. It is the one which ends the most defi- 
nitely and practically. 

When a novel, instead of being hewn out, 
finished, and decorated by the author, added 
as one more monument or tomb of itself in a 
man's memory, becomes a growing, living 
daily thing to him, the wondering, unfinished 

ZEbe msefuih? IHnfinisbeJ) 181 

events of it, and the unfinished people of it, Ube 
flocking out to him, interpreting for him the 
still unfinished events and all the dear un- 
finished people that jostle in his own life, it 
is a great novel. 

It seems to need to be recalled that the one 
possible object of a human being's life in a 
novel (as out of it) is to be loved. This is 
definite enough. It is the novel in which the 
heroine looks finished that does not come to 
anything. I always feel a little grieved and 
frustrated as if human nature had been blas- 
phemed a little in my presence if a novel fin- 
ishes its people or thinks it can. It is a small 
novel which finishes love and lays it away ; 
which makes me love say one brave woman or 
mother in a book, and close her away for ever. 
The greater novel makes me love one woman 
in a book in such a way that I go about 
through all the world seeking for her know- 
ing and loving a thousand women through 
her. I feel the secret of their faces through 
her flickering by me on the street. This 
intangible result, this eternal flash of a life 
upon life is all that reading is for. It is prac- 
tical because it is eternal and cannot be wasted 
and because it is for ever to the point. 

I/ife is greater than art and art is great only 
in so far as it proves that life is greater than 
art, interprets and intensifies life and the power 
to taste life makes us live wider and deeper 
and farther in our seventy years. 


SLost Hrt of 


BtbietfcB ' ' The world is full, ' ' Ellery Channing used to 
say, ' ' of fools who get a-going and never stop. 
Set them off on another tack, and they are 
half-cured." There are grave reasons to be- 
lieve that, if an archangel were to come to this 
earth and select a profession on it, instead of 
taking up some splendid, serious, dignified call- 
ing he would devote himself to a comparatively 
small and humble-looking career that of jog- 
ging people's minds. This might not seem at 
first sight to be a sufficiently large thing for 
an archangel to do, but if it were to be done at 
all (those who have tried it think) it would 
take an archangel to do it. 

The only possible practical or businesslike 
substitute one can think of in modern life for 
an archangel would have to be an Institution 
of some kind. Some huge, pleasant Mutual 
Association for Jogging People's Minds might 
do a little something perhaps, but it would not 
be very thorough. The people who need it 
most, half or three-quarters of them, the tread- 
mill-conscientious, dear, rutty, people of this 
world, would not be touched by it. What is 
really wanted, if anything is really to be done 
in the way of jogging, is a new day in the 

I have always thought that there ought to 



be a day, one day in the week, to do wrong in 
not very wrong, but wrong enough to answer 
the purpose a perfectly irresponsible, delect- 
able, inconsequent day a sabbath of whims. 
There ought to be a sort of sabbath for things 
that never get done because they are too good 
or not good enough. Letters that ought to be 
postponed until others are written, letters to 
friends that never dun, books that don't bear 
on anything, books that no one has asked one 
to read, calls on uuexpecting people, bills that 
might just as well wait, tinkering around the 
house on the wrong things, the right ones, per- 
fectly helpless, standing by. Sitting with one's 
feet a little too high (if possible on one's work- 
ing desk), being a little foolish and liking it 
making poor puns, enjoying one's bad gram- 
mar a day, in short, in which, whatever a 
man is, he rests from himself and play marbles 
with his soul. 

Most people nowadays at least the intel- 
lectual, so-called, and the learned above all 
others are so far gone under the reading-for- 
results theory that they have become mere 
work-worshippers in books, worshippers of 
work which would not need to be performed at 
all most of it by men with healthy natural 
or fully exercised spiritual organs. One very 
seldom catches a man in the act nowadays of 
doing any old-fashioned or important reading. 
The old idea of reading for athletics instead of 
scientifics has almost no provision made for it 



Hrt ot 

Htbietfc0 in the modern intellectual man's life. He 
does not seem to know what it is to take his 
rest like a gentleman. He lunges between all- 
science and all-vaudeville, and plays in his 
way, it is true, but he never plays with his 
mind. He never takes playing with a mind 
seriously, as one of the great standard joys and 
powers and equipments of human life. He 
does not seem to love his mind enough to play 
with it. Above all, he does not see that play- 
ing with a mind (on great subjects, at least) is 
the only possible way to make it work. He 
entirely overlooks the fact, in his little round 
of reading for results, that the main thing a 
book is in a man's hands for is the man that 
it is there to lift him over into a state of 
being, a power of action. A man who really 
reads a book and reads it well, reads it for 
moral muscle, spiritual skill, for far-sighted- 
ness, for catholicity above all for a kind of 
limberness and suppleness, a swift sure strength 
through his whole being. He faces the world 
with a new face when he has truly read a true 
book, and as a bridegroom coming out of his 
chamber, he rejoices as a strong man to run a 

As between reading to heighten one's senses, 
one's suggestibility, power of knowing and 
combining facts, the multum-in-parvo method 
in reading, and the parvum-in-multo method, 
a dogged, accumulating, impotent, callous 
reading for results, it is not hard to say which, 



in the equipment of the modern scientist, is 
being overlooked. 

It is doubtless true, the common saying of 
the man of genius in every age, that * ' every- 
thing is grist to his mill, ' ' but it would not be 
if he could not grind it fine enough. And he 
is only able to grind it fine enough because he 
makes his reading bring him power as well as 
grist. Having provided for energy, stored- up 
energy for grinding, he guards and preserves 
that energy as the most important and culmi- 
nating thing in his intellectual life. He insists 
on making provision for it. He makes ready 
solitude for it, blankness, reverie, sleep, silence. 
He cultivates the general habit not only of re- 
jecting things, but of keeping out of their way 
when necessary, so as not to have to reject 
them, and he knows the passion in all times 
and all places for grinding grist finer instead 
of gathering more grist. These are going to 
be the traits of all the mighty reading, the 
reading that achieves, in the twentieth cen- 
tury. The saying of the man of genius that 
everything is grist to his mill merely means 
that he reads a book athletically, with a mag- 
nificent play of power across it, with an heroic 
imagination or power of putting together. He 
turns everything that comes to him over into 
its place and force and meaning in everything 
else. He reads slowly and organically where 
others read with their eyes. He knows what 
it is to tingle with a book, to blush and turn 


1 86 

Xost Hrt of 

Htbietics pale with it, to read his feet cold. He reads 
all over, with his nerves and senses, with his 
mind and heart. He reads through the whole 
tract of his digestive and assimilative nature. 
To borrow the Hebrew figure, he reads with 
his bowels. Instead of reading to maintain a 
theory, or a row of facts, he reads to sustain a 
certain state of being. The man who has the 
knack, as some people seem to think it, of 
making everything he reads and sees beauti- 
ful or vigorous and practical, does not need 
to try to do it. He does it because he has 
a habit of putting himself in a certain state 
of being and cannot help doing it. He does 
not need to spend a great deal of time in read- 
ing for results. He produces his own results. 
The less athletic reader, the smaller poet or 
scientist, confines himself to reading for results, 
for ready-made beauty and ready-made facts, 
because he is not in condition to do anything 
else. The greater poet or scientist is an energy, 
a transfigurer, a transmuter of everything into 
beauty and truth. Everything having passed 
through the heat and light of his own being 
is fused and seen where it belongs, where God 
placed it when He made it, in some relation to 
everything else. 

I fear that I may have come, in bearing 
down on this point, to another of the of-course 
places in this book. It is not just to assume 
that because people are not living with a truth 
that they need to be told it. It is of little use, 



when a man has used his truth all up boring 
people with it, to try to get them (what is left 
of the truth and the people) to do anything 
about it. But if I may be allowed one page 
more I would like to say in the present epi- 
demic of educating for results, just what a 
practical education may be said to be. 

The indications are that the more a man 
spends, makes himself able to spend, a large 
part of his time, as Whitman did, in standing 
still and looking around and loving things, the 
more practical he is. Even if a man's life were 
to serve as a mere guide-board to the universe, 
it would supply to all who know him the main 
thing the universe seems to be without. But 
a man who, like Walt Whitman, is more than 
a guide-board to the universe, who deliberately 
takes time to live in the whole of it, who be- 
comes a part of the universe to all who live 
always, who makes the universe human to us 
companionable, such a man may not be able 
to fix a latch on a kitchen door, but I can only 
say for one that if there is a man who can lift 
a universe bodily, and set it down in my front 
yard where I can feel it helping me do my 
work all day and guarding my sleep at night, 
that man is practical. Who can say he does 
not "come to anything " ? To have heard it 
rumoured that such a man has lived, can live, 
is a result the most practical result of all to 
most of the workers of the world. A bare fact 
about such a man is a gospel. Why work for 


1 88 

Xost Hrt of 

Htbietica nothing (that is, with no result) in a universe 
where you can play for nothing and by play- 
ing earn everything ? 

Such a man is not only practical, serving 
those who know him by merely being, but he 
serves all men always. They will not let him 
go. He becomes a part of the structure of the 
world. The generations keep flocking to him 
the way they flock to the great sane silent 
ministries of the sky and of the earth. Their 
being drawn to them is their being drawn to 
him. The strength of clouds is in him, and 
the spirit of falling water, and he knoweth the 
way of the wind. When a man can be said by 
the way he lives his life to have made himself 
the companion of his unborn brothers and of 
God ; when he can be said to have made him- 
self, not a mere scientist, but a younger brother, 
a real companion of air, water, fire, mist, and 
of the great gentle ground beneath his feet he 
has secured a result. 

VI Reading for Feelings 

passion of Grutb 

READING resolves itself sooner or later 
into two elements in the reader's mind: 

1. Tables of facts, (a) Rows of raw fact; 
(b) Principles, spiritual or sum-total facts. 

2. Feelings about the facts. 

But the Man with the Scientific Method, 
who lives just around the corner from me, tells 
me that reading for feelings is quite out of the 
question for a scientific mind. It is foreign to 
the nature of knowledge to want knowledge 
for the feelings that go with it. Feelings get 
in the way. 

I find it impossible not to admit that there 
is a certain force in this, but I notice that when 
the average small scientist, the man around 
the corner, for instance, says to me what he is 



passion of 


Hrt of TRcaDing 


passion of 

always saying, " Science requires the elimina- 
tion of feelings," says it to me in his usual 
chilled-through, ophidian, infallible way, I 
never believe it, or at least I believe it very 
softly and do not let him know it. But when 
a large scientist, a man like Charles Darwin, 
makes a statement like this, I believe it as hard, 
I notice, as if I had made it all up myself. 
The statement that science requires the elim- 
ination of the feelings is true or not true, it 
seems to me, according to the size of the feel- 
ings. Considering what most men's feelings 
are, a man like Darwin feels that they had 
better be eliminated. If a man's feelings are 
small feelings, they are in the way in science, 
as a matter of course. If he has large noble 
ones, feelings that match the things that God 
has made, feelings that are free and daring, 
beautiful enough to belong with things that a 
God has made, he will have no trouble with 
them. It is the feelings in a great scientist 
which have always fired him into being a man 
of genius in his science, instead of a mere tool, 
or scoop, or human dredge of truth. All the 
great scientists show this firing-process down 
underneath, in their work. The idea that it 
is necessary for a scientific man to give up his 
human ideal, that it is necessary for him to be 
officially brutal, in his relation to nature, to 
become a professional nobody in order to get 
at truth, to make himself over into matter in 
order to understand matter, has not had a 

passion of Urutb 


single great scientific achievement or concep- 
tion to its credit. All great insight or genius 
in science is a passion of itself, a passion of 
worshipping real things. Science is a passion 
not only in its origin, but in its motive power 
and in its end. The real truth seems to be 
that the scientist of the greater sort is great, 
not by having no emotions, but by having dis- 
interested emotions, by being large enough to 
have emotions on both sides and all sides, all 
held in subjection to the final emotion of truth. 
Having a disinterested, fair attitude in truth is 
not a matter of having no passions, but of hav- 
ing passions enough to go around. The tem- 
porary idea that a scientist cannot be scientific 
and emotional at once is based upon the ex- 
perience of men who have never had emotions 
enough. Men whose emotions are slow and 
weak, who have one-sided or wavering emo- 
tions, find them inconvenient as a matter of 
course. The men who, like Charles Darwin or 
some larger Browning, have the passion of dis- 
interestedness are those who are fitted to lead 
the human race, who are going to lead it along 
the paths of space and the footsteps of the 
worlds into the Great Presence. 

The greatest astronomer or chemist is the 
man who glows with the joy of wrestling with 
God, of putting strength to strength. 

To the geologist who goes groping about in 
stones, his whole life is a kind of mind-reading 
of the ground, a passion for getting underneath, 

passion of 


Xost Hrt ot IReafcing 


passion of 

for communing flesh to flesh with a planet. 
What he feels when he breaks a bit of rock is 
the whole round earth the wonder of it the 
great cinder floating through space. He would 
all but risk his life or sell his soul for a bit of 
lava. He is studying the phrenology of a star. 
All the other stars watch him. The feeling 
of being in a kind of eternal, invisible, infinite 
enterprise, of carrying out a world, of tracking 
a God, takes possession of him. He may not 
admit there is a God, in so many words, but 
his geology admits it. He devotes his whole 
life to appreciating a God, and the God takes 
the deed for the word, appreciates his apprecia- 
tion, whether he does or not. If he says that 
he does not believe in a God, he merely means 
that he does not believe in Calvin's God, or in 
the present dapper, familiar little God or the 
hero of the sermon last Sunday. All he means 
by not believing in a God is that his God has 
not been represented yet. In the meantime 
he and his geology go sternly, implacably on 
for thousands of years, while churches come 
and go. So does his God. His geology is his 
own ineradicable worship. His religion, his 
passion for the all, for communing through the 
part with the Whole, is merely called by the 
name of geology. In so far as a man's geology 
is real to him, if he is after anything but a de- 
gree in it, or a thesis or a salary, his geology 
is an infinite passion taking possession of him, 
soul and body, carrying him along with it, 

Ube passion ot Ututb 


sweeping him out with it into the great work- 
room, the flame and the glow of the world- 
shop of God. 

It would not seem necessary to say it if it 
were not so stoutly denied, but living as we do, 
most of us, with a great flock of little scientists 
around us, pecking on the infinite most of 
them, each with his own little private strut, or 
blasphemy, bragging of a world without a 
God, it does seem as if it were going to be the 
great strategic event of the twentieth century, 
for all men, to get the sciences and the hu- 
manities together once more, if only in our 
own thoughts, to make ourselves believe as we 
must believe, after all, that it is humanity in a 
scientist, and not a kind of professional inhu- 
manity in him, which makes him a scientist in 
the great sense a seer of matter. The great 
scientist is a man who communes with matter, 
not around his human spirit, but through it. 

The small scientist, violating nature inside 
himself to understand it outside himself, misses 
the point. 

At all events if a man who has locked himself 
out of his own soul goes around the world and 
cannot find God's in it, he does not prove any- 
thing. The man who finds a God proves quite 
as much. And he has his God besides. 


passion of 


Xost Hrt of 

Ube Uopfs 
cal point 
of View 

Gopical point of tDiew 

If it is true that reading resolves itself sooner 
or later into two elements in the reader's mind, 
tables of facts and feelings about the facts, that 
is, rows of raw fact, and spiritualised or related 
facts, several things follow. The most im- 
portant of them is one's definition of education. 
The man who can get the greatest amount of 
feeling out of the smallest number and the 
greatest variety of facts is the greatest and 
most educated man comes nearest to living an 
infinite life. The purpose of education in 
books would seem to be to make every man as 
near to this great or semi-infinite man as he 
can be made. 

If men were capable of becoming infinite by 
sitting in a library long enough, the education- 
problem would soon take care of itself. There 
is no front or side door to the infinite. It is all 
doors. And if the mere taking time enough 
would do it, one could read one's way into the 
infinite as easily as if it were anything else. 
One can hardly miss it. One could begin any- 
where. There would be nothing to do but to 
proceed at once to read all the facts and have 
all the feelings about the facts and enjoy them 
forever. The main difficulty one comes to, 
in being infinite, is that there is not time, but 
inasmuch as great men or semi-infinite men 

Ube Tropical point of 


have all had to contend with this same diffi- 
culty quite as much as the rest of us, it would 
seem that in getting as many of the infinite 
facts, and having as many infinite feelings 
about the facts, as they do, great men must 
employ some principle of economy or selection, 
that common, that is, artificial men, are apt to 

There seem to be two main principles of 
economy open to great men and to all of us, in 
the acquiring of knowledge. One of these, as 
has been suggested, may be called the scien- 
tist's principle of economy, and the other the 
poet's or artist's. The main difference be- 
tween the scientific and the artistic method of 
selection seems to be that the scientist does his 
selecting all at once and when he selects his 
career, and the artist makes selecting the en- 
tire business of every moment of his life. The 
scientist of the average sort begins by partition- 
ing the universe off into topics. Having se- 
lected his topic and walled himself in with it, 
he develops it by walling the rest of the uni- 
verse out. The poet (who is almost always a 
specialist also, a special kind of poet), having 
selected his specialty, develops it by letting all 
the universe in. He spends his time in making 
his life a cross section of the universe. The 
spirit of the whole of it, something of every- 
thing in it, is represented in everything he does. 
Whatever his specialty may be in poetry, 
painting, or literature, he produces an eternal 

Ube TTopfs 
cat point 
of IDiew 


Xost Hrt of 

TEbe Uopia 
cal point 
of View 

result by massing the infinite and eternal into 
the result. He succeeds by bringing the uni- 
verse to a point, by accumulating out of all 
things himself. It is the tendency of the 
scientist to produce results by dividing the 
universe and by subdividing himself. Unless 
he is a very great scientist he accepts it as the 
logic of his method that he should do this. 
His individual results are small results and he 
makes himself professedly small to get them. 

All questions with regard to the reading 
habit narrow themselves down at last: "Is 
the Book to be divided for the Man, or is the 
Man to be divided for the Book ? Shall a man 
so read as to lose his soul in a subject, or shall 
he so read that the subject loses itself in him 
becomes a part of him?" The main fact about 
our present education is that it is the man 
who is getting lost. And not only is every 
man getting lost to himself, but all men are 
eagerly engaged in getting lost to each other. 
The dead level of intelligence, being a dead 
level in a literal sense, is a spiritless level a 
mere grading down and grading up of appear- 
ances. In all that pertains to real knowledge 
of the things that people appear to know, 
greater heights and depths of difference in 
human lives are revealed to-day than in almost 
any age of the world. What with our steam- 
engines (machines for our hands and feet) and 
our sciences (machines for our souls) we have 
arrived at such an extraordinary division of 

ZTbe topical point of IDiew 


labour, both of body and mind, that people of 
the same classes are farther apart than they 
used to be in different classes. Lawyers, for 
instance, are as different from one another as 
they used to be from ministers and doctors. 
Every new skill we come to and every new 
subdivision of skill marks the world off into 
pigeon-holes of existence, into huge, hopeless, 
separate divisions of humanity. We live in 
different elements, monsters of the sea wonder- 
ing at the air, air-monsters peering curiously 
down into the sea, sailors on surfaces, trollers 
over other people's worlds. We commune 
with each other with lines and hooks. Some 
of us on the rim of the earth spend all our days 
quarrelling over bits of the crust of it. Some 
of us burrow and live in the ground, and are 
as workers in mines. The sound of our voices 
to one another is as though they were not. 
They are as the sound of picks groping in 

The reason that we are not able to produce 
or even to read a great literature is that a 
great book can never be written, in spirit at 
least, except to a whole human race. The 
final question with regard to every book that 
comes to a publisher to-day is what mine shall 
it be written in, which public shall it burrow 
for ? A book that belongs to a whole human 
race, which cannot be classified or damned 
into smallness, would only be left by itself on 
the top of the ground in the sunlight. The 

Ube tropi- 
cal point 


SLost Hrt of IReafcing 

Ube Uopis 

cal point 

of Wew 

next great book that comes will have to take a 
long trip, a kind of drummer's route around 
life, from mind to mind, and now in one 
place and now another be let down through 
shafts to us. There is no whole human race. 
A book with even forty-man power in it goes 
begging for readers. The reader with more 
than one-, two-, or three-man power of reading 
scarcely exists. We shall know our great 
book when it comes by the fact that crowds of 
kinds of men will flock to the paragraphs in it, 
each kind to its own kind of paragraph. It 
will hardly be said to reach us, the book with 
forty-man power in it, until it has been broken 
up into fortieths of itself. When it has been 
written over again broken off into forty books 
by forty men, none of them on speaking terms 
with each other it shall be recognised in some 
dim way that it must have been a great book. 
It is the first law of culture, in the highest 
sense, that it always begins and ends with the 
fact that a man is a man. Teaching the fact 
to a man that he can be a greater man is the 
shortest and most practical way of teaching 
him other facts. It is only by being a greater 
man, by raising his state of being to the n th 
power, that he can be made to see the other 
facts. The main attribute of the education of 
the future, in so far as it obtains to-day, is that 
it strikes both ways. It strikes in and makes 
a man mean something, and having made the 
man the main fact mean something, it 

ZTopical point of Diew 


strikes out through the man and makes all 
other facts mean something. It makes new 
facts, and old facts as good as new. It makes 
new worlds. All attempts to make a whole 
world without a single whole man anywhere to 
begin one out of are vain attempts. We are 
going to have great men again some time, but 
the science that attempts to build a civilisation 
in this twentieth century by subdividing such 
men as we already have mocks at itself. The 
devil is not a specialist and never will be. He 
is merely getting everybody else to be, as fast 
as he can. 

It is safe to say in this present hour of sub- 
divided men and sub-selected careers that any 
young man who shall deliberately set out at 
the beginning of his life to be interested, at 
any expense and at all hazards, in everything, 
in twenty or thirty years will have the field 
entirely to himself. It is true that he will 
have to run, what every more vital man has 
had to run, the supreme risk, the risk of being 
either a fool or a seer, a fool if he scatters him- 
self into everything, a seer if he masses every- 
thing into himself. But when he succeeds at 
last he will find that for all practical purposes, 
as things are going to-day, he will have a 
monopoly of the universe, of the greatest force 
there is in it, the combining and melting and 
fusing force that brings all men and all ideas 
together, making the race one a force which 
is the chief characteristic of every great period 

Ubc Uopfs 
cal point 
of VJiew 


Xost Hrt of IReafcing 

Ube Uopts 
cal point 
of View 

and of every great character that history has 

It is obvious that whatever may be its 
dangers, the topical or scientific point of view 
in knowledge is one that the human race is not 
going to get along without, if it is to be master 
of the House it lives in. It is also obvious 
that the human or artistic, the man-point of 
view in knowledge is one that it is not going 
to get along without, if the House is to con- 
tinue to have Men in it. 

The question remains, the topical point of 
view and the artistic point of view both being 
necessary, how shall a man contrive in the 
present crowding of the world to read with 
both? Is there any principle in reading that 
fuses them both ? And if there is, what is it ? 


VII Reading the World 


HHHERE are only a few square inches of 
1 cells and things, no one quite knows 
what on a human face, but a man can see 
more of the world in those few inches, and 
understand more of the meaning of the world 
in them, put the world together better there, 
than in any other few inches that God has 
made. Even one or two faces do it, for a 
man, for most of us, when we have seen them 
through and through. Not a face anywhere 
no one has ever seen one that was not a 
mirror of a whole world, a poor and twisted one 
perhaps, but a great one. The man that goes 
with it may not know it, may not have much 



Xost Hrt of 

ifocusfna to do with it. While he is waiting to die, God 
writes on him; but however it is, every man's 
face (I cannot help feeling it when I really look 
at it) is helplessly great. It is one man's por- 
trait of the universe as he has found it his 
portrait of a Whole. I have caught myself 
looking at crowds of faces as if they were rows 
of worlds. Is not everything I can know or 
guess or cry or sing written on faces? An 
audience is a kind of universe by itself. I 
could pray to one when once the soul is 
hushed before it. If there were any necessity 
to select one place rather than another, any 
particular place to address a God in, I think I 
would choose an audience. Praying for it in- 
stead of to it is a mere matter of form. I can- 
not find a face in it that does not lead to a God, 
that does not gather a God in for me out of all 
space, that is not one of His assembling places. 
Many and many- a time when heads were being 
bowed have I caught a face in a congregation 
and prayed to it and with it. Every man's face 
is a kind of prayer he carries around with him. 
One can hardly help joining in it. It is 
sacrament to look at his face, if only to take 
sides in it, join with the God-self in it and 
help against the others. Whoever or What- 
ever He is, up there across all heaven, He is a 
God to me because He can be infinitely small 
or infinitely great as He likes. I will not have 
a God that can be shut up into any horizon or 
shut out of any face. When I have stood be- 



fore audiences, have really realised faces, felt 
the still and awful thronging of them through 
my soul, it has seemed to me as if some great 
miracle were happening. It 's as if but who 
shall say it ? Have you never stood, Gentle 
Reader, alone at night on the frail rim of the 
earth spread your heart out wide upon the 
dark, and let it lie there, let it be flocked on 
by stars ? It is like that when Something is 
lifted and one sees faces. Faces are worlds to 
me. However hard I try, I cannot get a man, 
somehow, any smaller than a world. He is a 
world to himself, and God helping me, when I 
deal with him, he shall be a world to me. The 
dignity of a world rests upon him. His face 
is a sum-total of the universe. It is made by 
the passing of the infinite through his body. 
It is the mark of all things that are, upon his 

What I like to believe is, that if there is an 
organic principle of unity like this in a little 
human life, if there is some way of summing 
up a universe in a man's face, there must be 
some way of summing it up, of putting it to- 
gether in his education. It is this summing a 
universe up for one's self, and putting it to- 
gether for one's self, and for one's own use, 
which makes an education in a universe worth 

In other words, with a symbol as convenient, 
as near to him as his own face, a man need not 
go far in seeking for a principle of unity in 



3Lost Hrt of 

education. A man's face makes it seem not 
unreasonable to claim that the principle of 
unity in all education is the man, that the 
single human soul is created to be its own 
dome of all knowledge. A man's education 
may be said to be properly laid out in propor- 
tion as it is laid out the way he lays out his 
countenance. The method or process by which 
a man's countenance is laid out is a kind of 
daily organic process of world-swallowing. 
What a man undertakes in living is the mak- 
ing over of all phenomena, outer sights and 
sounds into his own inner ones, the passing of 
all outside knowledge through himself. In 
proportion as he is being educated he is mak- 
ing all things that are, into his own flesh and 

When one looks at it in this way it is not 
too much to say that every man is a world. 
He makes the tiny platform of his soul in in- 
finite space, a stage for worlds to come to, to 
play their parts on. His soul is a little All- 
show, a kind of dainty pantomime of the uni- 

It seemed that I stood and watched a world 
awake, the great night still upbearing me 
above the flood of the day. I watched it 
strangely, as a changed being, the godlike- 
ness and the might of sleep, the spell of the 
All upon me. I became as one who saw the 
earth as it is, in a high noon of its real self. 





Hung in its mist of worlds, wrapped in its own 
breath, I saw it a queer little ball of cooled- 
off fire, it seemed, still and swift plunging 
through space. And when I looked close in 
my heart, I saw cunning little men on it, na- 
tions and things running around on it. And 
when I looked still nearer, looked at the 
lighted side of it, I saw that each little man 
was not what I thought a dot or fleck on 
the universe. And I saw that he was a reflec- 
tion, a serious, wondrous miniature of all the 
rest. It all seemed strange to me at first to 
a man who lives, as I do, in a rather weary, 
laborious, painstaking age that this should 
be so. As I looked at the little man I won- 
dered if it really could be so. Then, as I 
looked, the great light flowed all around the 
little man, and the little man reflected the 
great light. 

But he did not seem to know it. 

I felt like calling out to him to one of them 
telling him out loud to himself, wrapped 
away as he was, in his haste and dumbness, 
not knowing, and in the funny little noise of 
cities in the great still light. And so while 
the godlikeness and the might of sleep was 
upon me, I watched him, longed for him, 
wanted him for myself. I thought of my great 
cola, stretched-out wisdom. How empty and 
bare it was, this staring at stars one by one, 
this taking notes on creation, this slow painful 
tour of space, when after all right down there 



Hrt of 1ReaMn0 

ffocuainy in this little man, I said " Is not all I can know, 
or hope to know stowed away and written 
up ? " And when I thought of this the blur of 
sleep still upon me I could hardly help reach- 
ing down for him, half-patronising him, half- 
worshipping him, taking him up to myself, 
where I could keep him by me, keep him to 
consult, watch for the sun, face for the infinite. 
"Dear little fellow!" I said, "my own 
queer little fellow! my own little Kosmos, 
pocket-size! " 

I thought how convenient it would be if I 
could take one in my hand, do my seeing 
through it, focus my universe with it. And 
when the strange mood left me and I came to, 
I remembered or thought I remembered that I 
was one of Those myself. ' * Why not be your 
own little Kosmos-glass ? " I said. 

I have been trying it now for some time. It 
is hard to regulate the focus of course, and it 
is not always what it ought to be. It has to 
be allowed for some. I do not claim much for 
it. But it's better, such as it is, than a sheer 
bit of Nothing, I think, to look at a universe 


Ibuman TUnit 

It matters little that the worlds that are 
made in this way are very different in detail or 
emphasis, that some of them are much smaller 

ZTbe Ifouman "Quit 


and more twisted than others. The great 
point, so far as education is concerned, is for 
all teachers to realise that every man is a 
whole world, that it is possible and natural for 
every man to be a whole world. His very body 
is, and there must be some way for him to have 
a whole world in his mind. A being who finds 
a way of living a world into his face can find a 
way of reading a world together. If a man is 
going to have unity, read his world together, 
possess all-in-oneness in knowledge, he will 
have to have it the way he has it in his face. 

It is superficial to assume, as scientists are 
apt to do, that in a world where there are in- 
finite things to know, a man's knowledge must 
have unity or can have unity, in and of itself. 
The moment that all the different knowledges 
of a man are passed over or allowed to be passed 
over into his personal qualities, into the muscles 
and traits and organs and natural expressions 
of the man, they have unity and force and order 
and meaning as a matter of course. Infinite 
opposites of knowledge, recluses and separates 
of knowledge are gathered and can be seen 
gathered every day in almost any man, in the 
glance of his eye, in the turn of his lip, or in 
the blow of his fist. 

It is not the method of science as science, 
and it is not in any sense put forward as the 
proper method for a man to use in his mere 
specialty, but it does seem to be true that if a 
man wants to know things which he does not 





SLost Hit ot 


intend to know all of, the best and most scien- 
tific way for him to know such things is to 
reach out to them and know them through 
their human or personal relations. I can only 
speak for myself, but I have found for one that 
the easiest and most thorough, practical way 
for me to get the benefit of things I do not 
know, is to know a man who does. If he is 
an educated man, a man who really knows, 
who has made what he knows over into himself, 
I find if I know him that I get it all the gist 
of it. The spirit of his knowledge, its attitude 
toward life, is all in the man, and if I really 
know the man, absorb his nature, drink deep 
at his soul, I know what he knows it seems 
to me and what I know besides. It is true 
that I cannot express it precisely. He would 
have to give the lecture or diagram of it, but I 
know it know what it comes to in life, his life 
and my life. I can be seen going around living 
with it afterwards, any day. His knowledge 
is summed up in him, his whole world is read 
together in him, belongs to him, and he belongs 
to me. To know a man is to know what he 
knows in its best form the things that have 
made the man possible. 

A great portrait painter, it has always seemed 
to me, is a kind of god in his way knows 
everything his sitters know. He knows what 
every man's knowledge has done with the man 
the best part of it and makes it speak. I 
have never yet found myself looking at great 




walls of faces (one painter's faces), found my- 
self walking up and down in Sargent's soul, 
without thinking what a great inhabited, 
trooped-through man he was all knowledges 
flocking to him, showing their faces to him, 
from the ends of the earth, emptying their 
secrets silently out to his brush. If a man like 
Sargent has for one of his sitters a great as- 
tronomer, an astronomer who is really great, 
who knows and absorbs stars, Sargent absorbs 
the man, and as a last result the stars in the 
man, and the man in Sargent, and the man's 
stars in Sargent, all look out of the canvas. 

It is the spirit that sums up and unifies 
knowledge. It is a fact to be reckoned with, 
in education, that knowledge can be summed 
up, and that the best summing up of it is a 
human face. 


fbigber Cannibalism 

It is not unnatural to claim, therefore, that 
the most immediate and important short-cut in 
knowledge that the comprehensive or educated 
man can take comes to him through his human 
and personal relations. There is no better way 
of getting at the spirits of facts, of tracing out 
valuable and practical laws or generalisations, 
than the habit of trying things on to people in 
one's mind. 






Xost Hrt of 





I have always thought that if I ever got dis- 
couraged and had to be an editor, I would do 
this more practically. As it is, I merely do it 
with books. I find no more satisfactory way 
of reading most books the way one has to 
through their backs, than reading the few 
books that one does read, through persons and 
for persons and with persons. It is a great 
waste of time to read a book alone. One needs 
room for rows of one's friends in a book. One 
book read through the eyes of ten people has 
more reading matter in it than ten books read 
in a common, lazy, lonesome fashion. One 
likes to do it, not only because one finds one's 
self enjoying a book ten times over, getting ten 
people's worth out of it, but because it makes 
a kind of sitting-room of one's mind, puts a 
fire-place in it, and one watches the ten people 
enjoying one another. 

It may be for better and it may be for 
worse, but I have come to the point where, if I 
really care about a book, the last thing I want 
to do with it is to sit down in a chair and read 
it by myself. If I were ever to get so low in 
my mind as to try to give advice to a real live 
author (any author but a dead one), it would 
be, ' ' Let there be room for all of us, O Author, 
in your book. If I am to read a live, happy, 
human book, give me a bench." 

I have noticed that getting at truth on most 
subjects is a dramatic process rather than an 
argumentative one. One gets at truth either 

HMgber Cannibalism 


in a book or in a conversation not so much by 
logic as by having different people speak. If 
what is wanted is a really comprehensive view 
of a subject, two or three rather different men 
placed in a row and talking about it, saying 
what they think about it in a perfectly plain 
way, without argument, will do more for it 
than two or three hundred syllogisms. A man 
seems to be the natural or wild form of the 
syllogism, which this world has tacitly agreed 
to adopt. Even when he is a very poor one he 
works better with most people than the other 
kind. If a man takes a few other men (very 
different ones), uses them as glasses to see a 
truth through, it will make him as wise in a 
few minutes, with that truth, as a whole human 

Knowledge which comes to a man with any 
particular sweep or scope is, in the very nature 
of things, dramatic. 

[I fear, Gentle Reader, I am nearing a con- 
viction. I feel a certain constraint coming 
over me. I always do, when I am nearing 
a conviction. I never can be sure how my 
soul will take it upon itself to act when I am 
making the attempt I am making now, to state 
what is to me an intensely personal belief, in a 
general, convincing, or impersonal way. The 
embarrassing part of a conviction is that IT is 
SO. And when a man attempts to state a 
thing as it is, to speak for God or everybody, 






SLost Brt ot 





well, it would not be respectable not to be 
embarrassed a little speaking for God. I 
know perfectly well, sitting here at my desk, 
this minute, with this conviction up in my 
pen, that it is merely a little thing of my own, 
that I ought to go on from this point cool and 
straight with it. But it is a conviction, and if 
you find me, Gentle Reader, in the very next 
page, swivelling off and speaking for God, I can 
only beg that both He and you will forgive me. 
I solemnly assure you herewith, that, however 
it may look, I am merely speaking for myself. 
I have thought of having a rubber stamp for 
this book, a stamp with IT SEEMS TO ME on it. 
A good many of these pages need going over 
with it afterwards. I do not suppose there is 
a man living either I or any other dogmatist 
who would not enjoy more speaking for himself 
(if anybody would notice it) than speaking for 
God. I have a hope that if I can only hold 
myself to it on this subject I shall do much 
better in speaking for myself, and may speak 
accidentally for God besides. I leave it for 
others to say, but it is hard not to point a little 
in a few places.] 

But here is the conviction. As I was going 
to say, knowledge which comes to a man with 
any particular sweep or scope is in the very 
nature of 'things dramatic. If the minds of 
two men expressing opinions in the dark could 
be flashed on a canvas, if there could be such 
a thing as a composite photograph of an opinion 

HMgber Cannibalism 


a biograph of it, it would prove to be, with 
nine men out of ten, a dissolving view of faces. 
The unspoken sides of thought are all dramatic. 
The palest generalisation a man can express, 
if it could be first stretched out into its origins, 
and then in its origins could be crowded up 
and focused, would be found to be a long un- 
conscious procession of human beings a mur- 
mur of countless voices. All our knowledge 
is conceived at first, taken up and organised in 
actual men, flashed through the delights of 
souls and the music of voices upon our brains. 
If it is true even in the business of the street 
that the greatest efficiency is reached by dealers 
who mix with the knowledge of their subject 
a keen appreciation and mastery of men, it is 
still more true of the business of the mind that 
the greatest, most natural and comprehensive 
results are reached through the dramatic or 
human insights. 

All our knowledge is dead drama. Wisdom 
is always some old play faded out, blurred 
into abstractions. A principle is a wonderful 
disguised biograph. The power of Carlyle's 
French Revolution is that it is a great spiritual 
play, a series of pictures and faces. 

It was the French Revolution all happening 
over again to Carlyle, and it was another 
French Revolution to every one of his readers. 
It was dynamic, an induced current from Paris 
via Craigenputtock, because it was dramatic 
great abstractions, playing magnificently over 




2I 4 

OLost Hrt ot 





great concretes. Every man in Carlyle's his- 
tory is a philosophy, and every abstraction in 
it a man's face, a beckoning to us. He always 
seems to me a kind of colossus of a man stalking 
across the dark, way out in The Past, using 
men as search -lights. He could not help do- 
ing his thinking in persons, and everything he 
touches is terribly and beautifully alive. It 
was because he saw things in persons, that is, 
in great, rapid, organised sum-totals of experi- 
ence and feeling, that he was able to make so 
much of so little as a historian, and what is 
quite as important (at least in history), so little 
of so much. 

The true criticism of Carlyle as a historian 
is not a criticism of his method, that he 
went about in events and eras doing his 
seeing and thinking with persons, but that 
there were certain sorts of persons that Car- 
lyle, with his mere lighted-up-brute imagina- 
tion, could never see with. They were opaque 
to him. Every time he lifted one of them up 
to see ten years with, or a bevy of events or 
whatever it might be, he merely made blots or 
sputters with them, on his page. But it was 
his method that made it a great page, wider 
and deeper and more splendid than any of the 
others, and the blots were always obvious blots, 
did no harm there no historical harm almost 
any one could see them, and if they could not, 
were there not always plenty of little chilled- 
through historians, pattering around after him, 

Ube HMgber Cannibalism 


tracking them out? But the great point of 
Carlyle's method was that he kept his per- 
spective with it. Never flattened out like 
other historians, by tables of statistics, unbe- 
wildered by the blur of nobodies, he was able 
to have a live, glorious giant's way of writing, 
a godlike method of handling great handfuls 
of events in one hand, of unrolling great 
stretches of history with a look, of seeing 
things and making things seen, in huge, broad, 
focussed, vivid human wholes. It was a his- 
torical method of treating great masses, which 
Thomas Carlyle and Shakespeare and Homer 
and the Old Testament all have in common. 

The fact that it fails in the letter and with 
hordes of literal persons, that it has great gaps 
of temperament left over in it, is of lesser 
weight. The letter passes by (thank Heaven !) 
in the great girths of time and space. In all 
lasting or real history, only the spirit has a 
right to live. Temperaments in histories even 
at the worst are easily allowed for, filled out 
with temperaments of other historians that is, 
they ought to be and are going to be if we ever 
have real historians any more, historians great 
enough and alive enough to have tempera- 
ments, and with temperaments great enough 
to write history the way God does that can be 

History can only be truly written by men 
who have concepts of history, and ' ' Every 
concept," says Hegel, "must be universal, 






%ost Hrt ot TReafcing 





concrete, and particular, or else it cannot be 
a concept." That is, it must be dramatic. 

And what is true of a great natural man or 
man of genius like Carlyle is equally true of 
all other natural persons whether men of genius 
or not. A stenographic report of all the 
thoughts of almost any man's brain for a day 
would prove to almost any scientist how spirit- 
ually organised, personally conducted a human 
being's brain is bound to be, almost in spite 
of itself even when it has been educated, arti- 
ficially numbed and philosophised. A man 
may not know the look of the inside of his 
mind well enough to formulate or recognise it, 
but nearly every man's thinking is done, as a 
matter of course, either in people, or to people, 
or for people, or out of people. It is the way 
he grows, the way the world is woven through 
his being, the way of having life more abun- 

It is not at all an exaggeration to say that if 
Shakespeare had not created his characters 
they would have created him. One need not 
wonder so very much that Shakespeare grew so 
masterfully in his later plays and as the years 
went on. Such a troop of people as flocked 
through Shakespeare's soul would have made 
a Shakespeare (allowing more time for it) out 
of almost anybody. 

The essential wonder of Shakespeare, the 
greatness which has made men try to make a 
dozen specialists out of him, is not so very 

ZTbe HM0ber Cannibalism 


wonderful when one considers that he was a 
dramatist. A dramatist cannot help growing 
great. At least he has the outfit for it if he 
wants to. One hardly wants to be caught giv- 
ing a world recipe, a prescription for being a 
great man; but it does look sometimes as if the 
habit of reading for persons, of being a sort of 
spiritual cannibal, or man-eater, of going about 
through all the world absorbing personalities 
the way other men absorb facts, would gradual- 
ly store up personality in a man, and make him 
great almost inconveniently great, at times, 
and in spite of himself. The probabilities seem 
to be that it was because Shakespeare instinc- 
tively picked out persons in the general scheme 
of knowledge more than facts; it was because 
persons seemed to him, on the whole in every 
age, to be the main facts the age was for, summed 
the most facts up; it was because they made 
him see the most facts, helped him to feel and 
act on facts, made facts experiences to him, 
that William Shakespeare became so supreme 
and masterful with facts and men both. 

To learn how to be pro tern, all kinds of men, 
about all things, to enjoy their joys in the 
things, is the greatest and the livest way of 
learning the things. 

To learn to be a Committee of the Tempera- 
ments all by one's self (which is what Shake- 
speare did) is at once the method and the end 
of education outside of one's specialty. 

There could be no better method of doing 






Slost Brt of 1ReaMn0 





this (no method open to everybody) than the 
method, outside of one's specialty, of read- 
ing for persons and with persons. It makes all 
one's life a series of spiritual revelations. It 
is like having regular habits of being born 
again, of having new experiences at will. It 
mobilises all love and passion and delight in the 
world and sends it flowing past one's door. 

In this day of immeasurable exercises, why 
does not some one put in a word for the good 
old-fashioned exercise of being born again ? It 
is an exercise which few men seem to believe 
in, not even once in a lifetime, but it is easily 
the best all-around drill for living, and even 
for reading, that can be arranged. And it is 
not a very difficult exercise if one knows how, 
does it regularly enough. It is not at all neces- 
sary to go off to another world to believe in re- 
incarnations, if one practises on them every 
day. Women have always seemed to be more 
generally in the way of being born again than 
men, but they have less scope and sometimes 
there is a certain feverish small ness about it, 
and when men once get started (like Robert 
Browning in distinction from Mrs. Browning) 
they make the method of being born again 
seem a great triumphant one. They seem to 
have a larger repertoire to be born to, and 
they go through it more rapidly and justly. 
At the same time it is true that nearly all wo- 
men are more or less familiar with the exercise 
of being born again living pro tern, and at 

flMgber Cannibalism 


will in others, and only a few men do it 
merely the greatest ones, statesmen, diplo- 
mats, editors, poets, great financiers, and other 
prophets all men who live by seeing more 
than others have time for. They are found to 
do their seeing rather easily on the whole. 
They do it by the perfectly normal exercise of 
being born into other men, looking out of their 
eyes a minute, whenever they like. All great 
power in its first stage is essentially dramatic, 
a man-judging, man-illuminating power, the 
power of guessing what other people are going 
to think and do. 

When the world points out to the young man, 
as it is very fond of doing, that he must learn 
from experience, what it really means is, that 
he must learn from his dramatic drill in human 
life, his contact with real persons, his slow, 
compulsory scrupulous going the rounds of his 
heart, putting himself in the place of real 

Probably every man who lives, in proportion 
as he covets power or knowledge, would like to 
be (at will at least) a kind of focused every- 
body. It is true that in his earlier stages, and 
in his lesser moods afterward, he would prob- 
ably seem to most people a somewhat teetering 
person, diffused, chaotic, or contradictory. It 
could hardly be helped with the raw materials 
of a great man all scattered around in him, 
great unaccounted-for insights, idle-looking 
powers all as yet unfused. But a man in the 






SLost Hrt of TReaMng 


long run (and longer the better) is always 
worth while, no matter how he looks in the 
making, and it certainly does seem reasonable, 
however bad it may look, that this is the way 
he is made, that in proportion as he does his 
knowing spiritually and powerfully, he will 
have to do it dramatically. It sometimes 
seems as if knowing, in the best sense, were a 
kind of rotary-person process, a being every- 
body in a row, a state of living symposium. 
The interpenetrating, blending-in, digesting 
period comes in due course, the time of settling 
down into himself, and behold the man is 
made, a unified, concentrated, individual, uni- 
versal man a focused everybody. 

This is not quite being a god perhaps, but it 
is as near to it, on the whole, as a man can 
conveniently get. 


Spiritual Ebrift 

But perhaps one of the most interesting 
things about doing up one's knowing in per- 
sons is that it is not only the most alive, but 
the most economical knowledge that can be ob- 
tained. On the whole, eleven or twelve people 
do very well to know the world with, if one 
can get a complete set, if they are different 
enough, and one knows them down through. 
The rest of the people that one sees about, from 

Spiritual Ubritt 


the point of view of stretching one's compre- 
hension, one's essential sympathy or know- 
ledge, do not count very much. They are 
duplicates to be respected and to be loved, of 
course, but to be kept in the cellar of actual 
consciousness. There is no other way to do. 
Everybody was not intended to be used by 
everybody. It is because we think that they 
were, mostly, that we have come to our present, 
modern, heartlessly-cordial fashion of knowing 
people knowing people by parlourfuls whole 
parlourfuls at a time. ' ' Is thy servant a 
whale?" said my not unsociable soul to me. 
" Is one to be fed with one's kind as if they 
were animalculae, as if they had to be taken in 
the bulk if one were really to get something ? " 
It is heartless and shallow enough. Who is 
not weary of it ? No one knows anybody now- 
adays. He merely knows everybody. He 
falls before The Reception Room. A reception 
room is a place where we set people up in rows 
like pickets on a fence to know them. Then 
like the small boy with a stick, one tap per 
picket, we run along knowing people. No one 
comes in touch with any one. It is getting so 
that there is hardly any possible way left in 
our modern life for knowing people except 
by marrying them. One cannot even be sure 
of that, when one thinks how married people 
are being driven about by books and by other 
people. Society is a crowd of crowds mutually 
destroying each other and literature is a crowd 



OLost Hrt of 


of books all shutting each other up, and the 
law seems to be either selection or annihilation, 
whether in reading or living. The only way 
to love everybody in this world seems to be to 
pick out a few in it, delegates of everybody, 
and use these few to read with, and to love and 
understand the world with, and to keep close 
to it, all one's days. 

The higher form one's facts are put in in this 
world the fewer one needs. To know twelve 
extremely different souls utterly, to be able to 
borrow them at will, turn them on all know- 
ledge, bring them to bear at a moment's notice 
on anything one likes, is to be an educated, 
masterful man in the most literal possible sense. 
Except in mere matters of physical fact, things 
which are small enough to be put in encyclo- 
pedias and looked up there, a man with twelve 
deeply loved or deeply pitied souls woven into 
the texture of his being can flash down into 
almost any knowledge that he needs, or go out 
around almost any ignorance that is in his way, 
through all the earth. The shortest way for 
an immortal soul to read a book is to know 
and absorb enough other immortal souls, and 
get them to help. Any system of education 
which like our present prevailing one is so 
vulgar, so unpsychological, as to overlook the 
soul as the organ and method of knowledge, 
which fails to see that the knowledge of human 
souls is itself the method of acquiring all other 
knowledge and of combining and utilising it, 

Spiritual ZTbrift 


makes narrow and trivial and impotent scholars 
as a matter of course. 

Knowledge of human nature and of one's 
self is the nervous system of knowledge, the 
flash and culmination, the final thoroughness 
of all the knowledge that is worth knowing 
and of all ways of knowing it. 

It is all a theory, I suppose. I cannot prove 
anything with it. I dare say it is true that 
neither I nor any one else can get, by reading in 
this way, what I like to think I am getting, 
slowly, a cross-section of the universe. But it 
is something to get as time goes on a cross-sec- 
tion of all the human life that is being lived in 
it. It is something to take each knowledge that 
comes, strike all the keys of one's friends on it 
clear the keyboard of space on it. When one 
really does this, nothing can happen to one 
which does not or cannot happen to one in the 
way one likes. Events and topics in this world 
are determined to a. large degree by circum- 
stances dandelions, stars, politics, bob-whites, 
acids, Kant, and domestic science but person- 
alities, a man's means of seeing things, are de- 
termined only by the limits of his imagination. 
One's knowledge of pictures, or of Kant, of bob- 
whites or acids, cannot be applied to every con- 
ceivable occasion, but nothing can happen in 
all the world that one cannot see or feel or de- 
light in, or suffer in, through Charles Lamb's 
soul if one has really acquired it. One can be a 
Charles Lamb almost anywhere toward almost 



Xost Hrt of 1ReaMn0 


anything that happens along, or a Robert 
Burns or a Socrates or a Heine, or an Amiel 
or a Dickens or Hugo or any one, or one can 
hush one's soul one eternal moment and be the 
Son of God. To know a few men, to turn them 
into one's books, to turn them into one another, 
into one's self, to study history with their 
hearts, to know all men that live with them, 
to put them all together and guess at God with 
them it seems to me that knowledge that is 
as convenient and penetrating, as easily turned 
on and off, as much like a light as this, is well 
worth having. It would be like taking away 
a whole world, if it were taken away from me 
the little row of people I do my reading with. 
And some of them are supposed to be dead 
hundreds of years. 

But the dramatic principle in education 
strikes both ways. While it is true that one 
does not need a very large outfit of people to 
do one's knowing with, if one has the habit of 
thinking in persons, it is still more true that 
one does not need a large outfit of books. 

As I sit in my library facing the fire I fancy 
I hear, sometimes, my books eating each other 
up. One by one through the years they have 
disappeared from me only portraits or titles 
are left. The more beautiful book absorbs the 
less and the greater folds itself around the 
small. I seldom take down a book that was an 
enthusiasm once without discovering that the 

Spiritual Ubrift 


heart of it has fled away, has stealthily moved 
over, while I dreamed, to some other book. 
Lowell and Whittier are footnotes scattered 
about in several volumes, now. J. G. Holland 
(Sainte-Beuve of my youth!) is digested by Mat- 
thew Arnold and Matthew Arnold by Walter 
Pater and Walter Pater by Walt Whitman. 
Montaigne and Plato have moved over into 
Emerson, and Emerson has been distilled slow- 
ly into forty years. Holmes has dissolved into 
Charles Lamb and Thomas Browne. A big 
volume of Rossetti (whom I oddly knew first) 
is lost in a little volume of Keats, and as I sit 
and wait Ruskin and Carlyle are going fast 
into a battered copy on my desk of the Old 
Testament. Once let the dramatic principle 
get well started in a man's knowledge and it 
seems to keep on sending him up new currents 
the way his heart does, whether he notices it 
or not. If a man will leave his books and his 
people to themselves, if he will let them do 
with him and with one another what they want 
to do, they all work while he sleeps. If the 
spirit of knowledge, the dramatic principle in 
it, is left free, knowledge all but comes to a 
man of itself, cannot help coming, like the 
dew on the grass. With enough reading for 
persons one need not buy very many books. 
One allows for unconscious cerebration in 
books. Books not only have a way of being 
read through their backs, but of reading one 



Xost Hrt of 

Ube Cits, 


atrt tbe 

Gbe Cit?, tbe Cburcb, ant> tbe 

The greatest event of the nineteenth century 
was that somewhere in it, at some immense 
and hidden moment in it, human knowledge 
passed silently over from the emphasis of Per- 
sons to the emphasis of Things. 

I have walked up and down Broadway when 
the whole street was like a prayer to me miles 
of it a long dull cry to its little strip of 
heaven. I have been on the Elevated the 
huge shuttle of the great city hour by hour, 
had my soul woven into New York on it, back 
and forth, up and down, until it was hardly a 
soul at all, a mere ganglion, a quivering, 
pressed-in nerve of second-story windows, skies 
of clotheslines, pale faces, mist and rumble 
and dust. " Perhaps I have a soul," I say. 
" Perhaps I have not. Has any one a soul ? " 
When I look at the men I say to myself, ' ' Now 
I will look at the women," and when I look at 
the women I say, " Now I will look at the 
men." Then I look at shoes. Men are cheap 
in New York. Every little man I see stewing 
along the street, when I look into his face in 
my long, slow country way, as if a hill belonged 
with him or a scrap of sky or something, or as if 
he really counted, looks at me as one would say, 
" I ? I am a millionth of New York and you ? ' ' 

Ube Gitp, tbe Cburcb, anfc tbe College 


I am not even that. The city gathers itself 
together in a great roar about me, puts its 
hands to its mouth and bellows in my country 
ears, " Men are cheap enough, dear boy, 
did n't you know that? See those dots on 
Brooklyn Bridge?" 

I go on with my walk. I stop and look up 
at the great blocks. ' * Who are you ? ' ' the 
great blocks say. I take another step. I am 
one more shuffle on the street. " Men are 
cheap. Look at us " a thousand show win- 
dows say. Are there not square miles of 
human countenance drifting up Broadway 
any day ? * ' And where are they going ? " I 
asked my soul . " To oblivion ? " * ' They are 
going from Things," said my soul, " to 
Things"; and sotto voce, " From one set of 
Things they know they do not want, to an- 
other set of Things they do not know they do 
not want. ' ' 

One need not wonder very long that nearly 
every man one knows in New York is at best 
a mere cheered-up and plucky pessimist. Of 
course one has to go down and see one's 
favourite New Yorker, one needs to and wants 
to, and one needs to get wrought in with him 
too, but when one gets home, who is there who 
does not have to get free from his favourite 
New Yorker, shake himself off from him, save 
his soul a little longer? " Men are cheap," 
it keeps saying over and over to one, a 
New York soul does. It keeps coming back 

-Gbe Cit^, 


ant> tbe 


3Lost Hrt ot TReafcing 

ttbe (Tit?, 

an& tbe 


whispering through all the aisles of thought. 
New York spreads itself like a vast concrete phi- 
losophy over every man's spirit. It reeks with 
cheapness, human cheapness. How could it 
be otherwise with a New York man ? I never 
come home from New York, wander through 
the city with my heart, afterward, look down 
upon it, see Broadway with this little man on 
it, fretting up and down between his twenty- 
story blocks, in his little trough of din under 
the wide heaven, loomed at by iron and glass, 
browbeaten by stone, smothered by smoke, but 
that he all but seems to me, this little Broad- 
way man, to be slipping off the planet, to 
barely belong to the planet. I feel like clutch- 
ing at him, helping him to hold on, pitying 
him. Then I remember how it really is (if 
there is any pitying to be done), this crowded- 
over, crowded-off, matter-cringing, callous- 
looking man, pities me. 

When I was coming home from New York 
the last time, had reached a safe distance be- 
hind my engine, out in the fields, I found my- 
self listening all over again to the roar (saved 
up in me) of the great city. I tried to make 
it out, tried to analyse what it was that the 
voice of the great city said to me. ' * The voice 
of the city is the Voice of Things," my soul 
said to me. "And the Man ? " I said, " where 
does the Man come in ? Are not the Things 
for the Man ? ' ' Then the roar of the great 
city rose up about me, like a flood, swallowed 

Ube Gits, tbe Cburcb, anfc tbe College 


my senses in itself, numbed and overbore me, 
swooned my soul in itself, and said: " No, 


This is what the great city said. And while 
I still listened, the roar broke over me once 
more with its NO! NO! NO! its million voices 
in it, its million souls in it. All doubts and 
fears and hates and cries, all deadnesses flowed 
around me, took possession of me. 

Then I remembered the iron and wood faces 
of the men, great processions of them, I had 
seen there, the strange, protected-looking, 
boxed- in faces of the women, faces in crates, 
I had seen, and I understood. " New York," 
I said, ' ' is a huge war, a great battle numbered 
off in streets and houses, every man against 
every man, every man a shut-in, self-defended 
man. It is a huge lamp-lighted, sun-lighted, 
ceaseless struggle, day unto day." 

11 But New York is not the world. Try the 
whole world," said my soul to me. " Perhaps 
you can do better. Are there not churches, 
men-making, men-gathering places, oases for 
strength and rest in it ? " 

Then I went to all the churches in the land 
at once, of a still Sabbath morning, steeples in 
the fields and hills, and steeples in cities. The 
sound of splendid organs praying for the poor 
emptied people, the long, still, innumerable 
sound of countless collections being taken, 
the drone and seesaw of sermons, countless 

Ube Cits, 


an& tbe 


3Lost Htt of 

Cbe Cits, 


anD tbe 

sermons ! (Ah, these poor helpless Sundays !) 
Paper-philosophy and axioms. Chimes of 
bells to call the people to paper-philosophy and 
axioms ! ' ' Canst thou not, ' ' said I to my soul, 
' ' guide me to a Man, to a door that leads to a 
Man a world-lover or prophet ? ' ' Then I fled 
(I always do after a course of churches) to the 
hills from whence cometh strength. David 
tried to believe this. I do sometimes, but 
hills are great, still, coldly companionable, 
rather heartless fellows. I know in my heart 
that all the hills on earth, with all their halos 
on them, their cities of leaves, and circles of 
life, would not take the place to me, in mystery, 
closeness, illimltableness, and wonder of one 

And when I turn from the world of affairs 
and churches, to the world of scholarship, I 
cannot say that I find relief. Kven scholar- 
ship, scholarship itself, is under a stone most 
of it, prone and pale and like all the rest, under 
The Emphasis of Things. Scholarship is get- 
ting to be a mere huge New York, infinite 
rows and streets of things, taught by rows of 
men who have made themselves over into 
things, to another row of men who are trying 
to make themselves over into things. I visit 
one after the other of our great colleges, with 
their forlorn, lonesome little chapels, cosy- 
corners for God and for the humanities, their 
vast Thing-libraries, men like dots in them, 
their great long, reached-out laboratories, stables 



for truth, and I am obliged to confess in spirit 
that even the colleges, in all ages the strong- 
holds of the human past, and the human future, 
the citadels of manhood, are getting to be great 
man-blind centres, shambles of souls, places 
for turning every man out from himself, every 
man away from other men, making a Thing of 
him or at best a Columbus for a new kind of fly, 
or valet to a worm, or tag or label on Matter. 
When one considers that it is a literal, scien- 
tific, demonstrable fact that there is not a single 
evil that can be named in modern life, social, 
religious, political, or industrial, which is not 
based on the narrowness and blindness of 
classes of men toward one another, it is very 
hard to sit by and watch the modern college al- 
most everywhere, with its silent, deadly Thing- 
emphasis upon it, educating every man it can 
reach, into not knowing other men, into not 
knowing even himself. 


ZEbe utefoers 

One cannot but look with deep pleasure at 
first, and with much relief, upon these healthy 
objective modern men of ours. The only way 
out, for spiritual hardihood, after the world-sick 
Middle Ages, was a Columbus, a vast splendid 
train of Things after him, of men who empha- 
sised Things, who could emphasise Things. 



Xost Hrt ot 


It is a great spectacle and a memorable one 
the one we are in to-day, the spectacle of the 
wonder that men are doing with Things, but 
when one begins to see that it is all being 
turned around, that it is really a spectacle of 
what Things are doing with men, one wakes 
with a start. One wonders if there could be 
such a thing as having all the personalities of 
a whole generation lost. One looks sus- 
piciously and wistfully at the children one sees 
in the schools. One wonders if they are going 
to be allowed, like their fathers and mothers, 
to have personalities to lose. I have all but 
caught myself kidnapping children as I have 
watched them flocking in the street. I have 
wanted to scurry them off to the country, a 
few of them, almost anywhere for a few 
years. I have thought I would try to find a 
college to hide them in, some back-county, 
protected college, a college which still has the 
emphasis of Persons as well as the emphasis of 
Things upon it. Then I would wait and see 
what would come of it. I would at least have 
a little bevy of great men perhaps, saved out 
for a generation, enough to keep the world 
supplied with samples to keep up the bare 
idea of the great man, a kind of isthmus to the 

The test of civilisation is what it produces 
its man, if only because he produces all else. 
If we have all made up our minds to allow the 
specialist to set the pace for us, either to be 



specialists ourselves or vulgarly to compete 
with specialists, for the right of living, or get- 
ting a living, there is going to be a crash 
sometime. Then a sense of emptiness after the 
crash which will call us to our senses. The 
specialist's view of the world logically narrows 
itself down to a race of nonentities for nothings. 
And even if a thing is a thing, it is a nothing 
to a nonentity. And if it is the one business 
of the specialist to obtain results, and we are 
all browbeaten into being specialists, but one 
result is going to be possible. It is obvious 
that the man who is willing to sacrifice the 
most is going to have the most success in the 
race, crowd out and humiliate or annihilate 
the others. If this is to be the world, it is 
only men who are ready to die for nothing in 
order to create nothing who will be able to 
secure enough of nothing to rule it. One 
wonders how long ruling such a world will be 
worth while, a world which has accepted as 
the order of the day success by suicide, the 
spending of manhood on things which only by 
being men we can enjoy the method of forg- 
ing boilers and getting deaf to buy violins, of 
having elevated railways for dead men, wire- 
less telegraphs for clods, gigantic printing- 
presses for men who have forgotten how to read. 
" Let us all, by all means, make all things 
for the world." So we set ourselves to our 
task cheerfully, the task of attaining results for 
people at large by killing people in particular 



Xost Hrt of 1Reafcfn0 



off. We are getting to be already, even in 
the arts, men with one sense. We have classes 
even in colour. Schools of painters are founded 
by men because they have one seventh of a 
sense of sight. Schools of musicians divide 
themselves off into fractions of the sense of 
sound, and on every hand men with a hundred 
and forty-three million cells in their brains, 
become noted (nobodies) because they only 
use a hundred and forty-three. " What is the 
use of attaining results," one asks, "of mak- 
ing such a perfectly finished world, when there 
is not a man in it who would pay any attention 
to it as a world ? " If the planet were really be- 
ing improved by us, if the stars shone better 
by our committing suicide to know their names, 
it might be worth while for us all to die, per- 
haps, to make racks of ourselves, frames for 
souls (one whole generation of us), in one 
single, heroic, concerted attempt to perfect a 
universe like this, the use and mastery of it. 
But what would it all come to? Would we 
not still be left in the way on it, we and our 
children, lumbering it up, soiling and disgrac- 
ing it, making a machine of it ? There would 
be no one to appreciate it. Our children would 
inherit the curse from us, would be more like 
us than we are. If any one is to appreciate this 
world, we must appreciate it and pass the old 
secret on. 

No one seems to believe in appreciating- 
appreciating more than one thing, at least. 

Ube utsifcers 


The practical disappearance in any vital form 
of the lecture-lyceum, the sermon, the essay, 
and the poem, the annihilation of the imagina- 
tion or organ of comprehension, the disappear- 
ance of personality, the abolition of the edi- 
torial, the temporary decline of religion, of 
genius, of the artistic temperament, can all be 
summed up and symbolised in a single trait of 
modern life, its separated men, interested in 
separate things. We are getting to be lovers 
of contentedly separate things, little things in 
their little places all by themselves. The mod- 
ern reader is a skimmer, a starer at pictures, 
like a child, while he reads, never thinking a 
whole thought, a lover of peeks and paragraphs, 
as a matter of course. Except in his money- 
making, or perhaps in the upper levels of 
science, the typical modern man is all para- 
graphs, not only in the way he reads, but 
in the way he lives and thinks. Outside of 
his specialty he is not interested in anything 
more than one paragraph's worth. He is as 
helpless as a bit of protoplasm before the sight 
of a great many very different things being 
honestly put together. Putting things to- 
gether tires him. He has no imagination, 
because he has the daily habit of contentedly 
seeing a great many things which he never puts 
together. He is neither artistic nor original nor 
far-sighted nor powerful, because he has a para- 
graph way of thinking, a scrap-bag of a soul, 
because he cannot concentrate separate things, 

Slost Hrt of 



cannot put things together. He has no person- 
ality because he cannot put himself together. 

It is significant that in the days when per- 
sonalities were common and when very power- 
ful, interesting personalities could be looked 
up, several to the mile, on almost any road 
in the land, it was not uncommon to see a 
business letter-head like this: 

General Merchandise, 

Dry Goods, Notions, Hats, 

Shoes, Groceries, Hardware, Coffins 

and Caskets, Livery and 

Feed Stable. 

Physician and Surgeon. 

Justice of the Peace, Licensed to Marry. 

If, as it looks just at present, the nation is 
going to believe in arbitration as the general 
modern method of adjustment, that is, in the 
all-siding up of a subject, the next thing it will 
be obliged to believe in will be some kind of an 
institution of learning which will produce arbi- 
trators, men who have two or three perfectly 
good, human sides to their minds, who have 
been allowed to keep minds with three dimen- 
sions. The probabilities are that if the mind 
of Socrates, or any other great man, could have 
an X-ray put on it, and could be thrown on a 
canvas, it would come out as a hexagon, or an 
almost-circle, with lines very like spokes on 
the inside bringing all things to a centre. 

It is not necessary to deny, in the present 

TTbe utsifcers 


emphasis of Things, that we are making and 
inspiring all Things except ourselves in a way 
that would make the Things glad. The trouble 
is that Things are getting too glad. They are 
turning around and making us. Nearly every 
man in college is being made over, mind and 
body, into a sort of machine. When the col- 
lege has finished him, and put him on the 
market, and one wonders what he is for, one 
learns he is to do some very little part, of some 
very little thing, and nothing else. The local 
paper announces with pride that in the new 
factory we have for the manufacture of shoes 
it takes one hundred and sixty -three machines 
to make one shoe one man to each machine. 
I ask myself, "If it takes one hundred and 
sixty-three machines to make one shoe, how 
many machines does it take to make one 

The Infinite Face of The Street goes by me 
night and day. To and fro, its innumerable 
eyes, always the sound of footsteps in my ears, 
out of all these jostling our shoulders, hidden 
from our souls, there waits an All-man, a great 
man, I know, as always great men wait, whose 
soul shall be the signal to the latent hero in us 
all, who, standing forth from the machines of 
learning and the machines of worship, that 
spread their noise and network through all the 
living of our lives, shall start again the old 
sublime adventure of keeping a Man upon the 
earth. He shall rouse the glowing crusaders, 



3Lost Hrt of IReafcing 



the darers of every land, who through the 
proud and dreary temples of the wise shall go, 
with the cry from Nazareth on their lips, 
' ' Woe unto you ye men of learning, ye have 
taken away the key of knowledge, ye have en- 
tered not in yourselves and them that were en- 
tering in, ye have hindered," and the mighty 
message of the one great scholar of his day 
who knew a God: <( Whether there be pro- 
phecies they shall fail, whether there be tongues 
they shall cease, whether there be knowledge 
it shall vanish away. Though I speak with 
the tongues of men and of angels, and have 
not love, I am become as sounding brass and 
tinkling cymbal, . . ." 

I do not forget of Him, whose "i, IF i BE 
LIFTED UP " is the hail of this modern world, 
that there were men of letters in those far-off 
days, when once He walked with us, who, 
sounding their brass and tinkling their cym- 
bals, asked the essentially ignorant question 
of all outsiders of knowledge in every age 
' ' How knoweth this man letters, never having 

As I lay on my bed in the night 

They came 

Pale with sleep 

The faces of all the living 

As though they were dead ; 

"What is Power?" they cried, 

Souls that were lost from their masters while they slept 

Trooping through my dream, 

" What is Power ?" 

tbe Morifc Uogetber 


Now these nineteen hundred years since the Boy 
In the temple with The Doctors 
Still the wind of faces flying 
Through the spaces of niy dream, 
" WHAT is POWER? " they cried. 


tbe Wlorlfc 


tbe Worib 

It is not necessary to decry science, but it 
should be cried on the housetops of education, 
the world around in this twentieth century, 
that science is in a rut of dealing solely with 
things and that the pronoun of science is It. 
While it is obvious that neuter knowledge 
should have its place in any real scheme of 
life, it is also obvious that most of us, making 
locomotives, playing with mist, fire and water 
and lightning, and the great game with mat- 
ter, should be allowed to have sex enough to 
be men and women a large part of the time, the 
privilege of being persons, perchance gods, sur- 
mounting this matter we know so much about, 
rather than becoming like it. 

The next great move of education the one 
which is to be expected is that the educated 
man of the twentieth century is going to be 
educated by selecting out of all the bare know- 
ledges the warm and human elements in them. 
He is going to work these over into a relation 
to himself and when he has worked them over 


Xost Brt of 


be THIloi-lb 

into relation to himself, he is going to work 
them over through himself into every one else 
and read the world together. 

It is because the general habit of reading for 
persons, acquiring one's knowledge naturally 
and vitally and in its relation to life, has been 
temporarily swept one side in modern educa- 
tion that we are obliged to face the divorced 
condition of the educated world to-day. There 
seem to be, for the most part, but two kinds 
of men living in it, living on opposite sides of 
the same truths glaring at each other. On 
the one hand the ansemically spiritual, broad, 
big, pallid men, and on the other the funny, 
infinitesimal, provincial, matter cornered, mat- 
ter-of-fact ones. 

However useless it may seem to be there is 
but one way out. Some man is going to come 
to us, must come to us, who will have it in him 
to challenge these forces, do battle with them, 
fight with fog on one hand and desert on the 
other. There never will be one world in edu- 
cation until we have one man who can em- 
phasise persons and things together, and do it 
every day, side by side, in his own mind. 
When there is one man who is an all-man, an 
epitome of a world, there shall be more all-men. 
He cannot help attracting them, drawing them 
out, creating them. With enough men who 
have a whole world in their hearts, we shall 
soon have a whole world. 

Whether it is true or not that the universe is 

Heading tbe World ZTogetber 


most swiftly known, most naturally enjoyed as 
related to one Creator or Person, as the self- 
expression of one Being who loved all these 
things enough to gather them together, it is 
generally admitted that the natural man seems 
to have been created to enjoy a universe as re- 
lated to himself. His most natural and power- 
ful way of enjoying it is to enjoy it in its 
relation to persons. A Person may not have 
created it, but it seems for the time being at 
least, and so far as persons are concerned, to 
have been created for persons. To know the 
persons and the things together, and particu- 
larly the things in relation to the persons, is the 
swiftest and simplest way of knowing the 
things. Persons are the nervous system of all 
knowledge. So far as man is concerned all 
truth is a sub- topic under his own soul, and the 
universe is the tool of his own life. Reading 
for different topics in it gives him a superficial 
knowledge of the men who write about them. 
Reading to know the men gives him a super- 
ficial knowledge, in the technical sense, of the 
things they write about. Let him stand up 
and take his choice like a man between being 
superficial in the letter and superficial in the 
spirit. Outside of his specialty, however, be- 
ing superficial in the letter will lead him to the 
most knowledge. Man is the greatest topic. 
All other knowledge is a sub-topic under a 
Man, and the stars themselves are as footnotes 
to the thoughts of his heart. 

tbe TOlorlb 


Xost Hrt of TReafcing 

tbe TMorlb 

' * Things are not only related to other 
things," the soul of the man says, " they are 
related to me." This relation of things to me 
is a mutual affair, partly theirs and partly 
mine, and I am going to do my knowing, act 
on my own knowledge, as if I were of some 
importance in it. Shall I reckon with alkalis 
and acids and not reckon with myself? I say, 
' ' O great Nature, O infinite Things, by the 
charter of my soul (and whether I have a soul 
or not), I am not only going to know things, 
but things shall know me. I stamp myself 
upon them. I shall receive from them and 
love them and belong to them, but they shall 
be my things because they are things, and they 
shall be to me, what I make them." "The 
sun is thy plaything," my soul says to me, 
"O, mighty Child, the stars thy companions. 
Stand up! Come out in the day! laugh the 
great winds to thy side. The sea, if thou wilt 
have it so, is thy frog-pond and thou shalt play 
with the lightnings in thy breast." 

" Aye, aye," I cry, " I know it! The 
youth of the world seizes my whole being. I 
hurrah like a child through all knowledge. I 
have taken all heaven for my nursery. The 
world is my rocking-horse. Things are not 
only for things, and my body in the end for 
things, but now I live, I live, and things 
are f or me ! " ' ' Aye, aye, and they shall be 
to thee, ' ' said my soul, ' ' what thou biddest 

IReafcing tbe TKHortt) Uogetber 


And now I go forth quietly. ' ' Do you not 
see, O mountains, that you must reckon with 
me ? I am the younger brother of the stars. 
I have faced nations in my heart. Great 
bullying, hulking, half-dead centuries I have 
faced. I have made them speak to me, and 
have dared against them. I there is history, 
I also am history. If there are facts, I also 
am a fact. If there are laws, it is one of the 
laws that I am one of the laws." 

All knowledge, I have said in my heart, in- 
stead of being a kind of vast overseer-and-slave 
system for a man to lock himself up in, and 
throw away his key in, becomes free, fluent, 
daring, and glorious the moment it is conceived 
through persons and for persons and with per- 
sons. Knowledge is not knowledge until it is 
conceived in relation to persons; that is, in 
relation to all the facts. Persons are facts 
also and on the whole the main facts, the 
facts which for seventy years, at least, or until 
the planet is too cooled off, all other facts are 
for. The world belongs to persons, is related 
to persons, and all the knowledge thereof, and 
by heaven, and by my soul's delight, all the 
persons the knowledge is related to shall be- 
long to me, and the knowledge that is related 
to them shall belong to me, the whole human 
round of it. The spirit and rhythm and song 
of their knowledge, the thing in it that is real 
to them, that sings out their lives to them, shall 
sing to me. 



Book III 
Mbat to Do IRejt 

I am he who tauntingly compels men, women, 

Crying, * Leap from your seats and contend for your 


See IReyt Chapter 

IT is good to rise early in the morning, when 
the world is still respectable and nobody 
has used it yet, and sit and look at it, try to 
realise it. One sees things very differently. 
It is a kind of yawn of all being. One feels 
one's soul lying out, all relaxed, on it, and 
resting on real things. It stretches itself on 
the bare bones of the earth and knows. On a 
hundred silent hills it lies and suns itself. 

And as I lay in the morning, soul and body 
reaching out to the real things and resting on 
them, I thought I heard One Part of me, down 
underneath, half in the light and half in the 
dark, laughing softly at the Other. " What is 
this book of yours ? " it said coldly, " with its 
proffered scheme of education, its millenniums 
and things ? What do you think this theory, 
this heaven-spanning theory of reading of 
yours, really is, which you have held up ob- 
jectively, almost authoritatively, to be looked 


See next 


3Lost Hrt of IReafctng 

See meit 

at as truth ? Do you think it is anything after 
all but a kind of pallid, unreal, water-colour 
exhibition, a row of blurs of faintly coloured 
portraits of yourself, spiead on space ? Do 
you not see how unfair it is this spinning out 
of one's own little dark, tired inside, a theory 
for a wide heaven and earth, this straddling 
with one temperament a star ? " 

Then I made myself sit down and compose 
what I feared would be a strictly honest title- 
page for this book. Instead of: 





I wrote it : 





And when I had looked boldly (almost 
scientifically) at this title-page, let it mock me 
a little, had laughed and sighed over it, as I 
ought, there came a great hush from I know 
not where. I remembered it was the title, 

See IRejt Gbapter 


after all, for better or worse, in some sort or 
another, of every book I had craved and de- 
lighted in, in the whole world. Then suddenly 
I found myself before this book, praying to it, 
and before every struggling desiring-book of 
every man, of other men, where it has prayed 
before, and I dared to look my title in the face. 
I have not denied I do not need to deny 
that what I have uncovered here is merely my 
own soul's glimmer my interpretation at this 
mighty, passing show of a world, and it comes 
to you, Oh Gentle Reader, not as I am, but as I 
would like to be. Out of chaos it struggles to 
you, and defeat can you not see it? and if but 
the benediction of what I, or you, or any man 
would like to be will come and rest on it, it is 
enough. Take it first and last, it is written in 
every man's soul, be his theory whatsoever it 
may of this great wondering world wave 
after wave of it, shuddering and glorying over 
him it is written after all that he does not 
know that anything is, can be, or has been in 
this world until he possesses it, or misses pos- 
sessing it himself feels it slipping from him. 
It is in what a man is, has, or might have, that 
he must track out his promise for a world. His 
life is his prayer for the ages as long as he lives, 
and what he is, and what he is trying to be, 
sings and prays for him, says masses for his 
soul under the stars, and in the presence of all 
peoples, when he is dead. By this truth, I 
and my book with you, Gentle Reader, must 

Set Ylext 



OLost Hrt of 

See inert 

stand or fall. Even now as I bend over the 
click of my typewriter, the years rise dim and 
flow over me out of the east, . . . genera- 
tions of brothers, out of the mist of heaven and 
out of the dust of the earth, trooping across 
the world, and wondering at it, come and go, 
and out of all these there shall not be one, no 
not one, Gentle Reader, but shall be touched 
and loved by you, by me. In light out of 
shadow or in the shadow out of the light, our 
souls fleck them, fleck them with the invisible, 
blessing them and cursing them. We shall be 
the voices of the night and day to them, shall 
live a shadow of life with them, and be the 
sounds in their ears; did any man think that 
what we are, and what we are trying to be, is 
ours, is private, is for ourselves ? Boundlessly, 
helplessly scattered on the world, upon the 
faces of our fellows, our souls mock to us or 
sing to us forever. 

So if I have opened my windows to you, say 
not it is because I have dared. It is because I 
have not dared. I have said I will protect 
my soul with the street. I will have my vow 
written on my forehead. I will throw open 
my window to the passer-by. Fling it in! I 
beg you, oh world, whatever it is, be it prayer 
or hope or jest. It is mine. I have vowed 
to live with it, to live out of it so long as 
I feel your footsteps under my casement, and 
know that your watch is upon my days, and 
that you hold me to myself. I have taken for 

See IRejt Cbapter 

2 5 1 

my challenge or for my comrade, I know not 
which, a whole world. 

And what shall a man give in exchange for 
a whole world ? 

And my soul said " He shall not save nor 
keep back himself. ' ' 

Who is the Fool that I should be always 
taking all this trouble for him, tiptoeing up 
and down the world with my little cover over 
my secret for him ? To defy a Fool, I have 
said, speak your whole truth. Then God 
locks him out. To hide a secret, have enough 
of it. Hide it outdoors. Why should a man 
take anything less than a world to hide in? 
If a soul is really a soul, why should it not fall 
back for its reserve on its own infinity ? God 
does. Even daisies do it. It is too big a 
world to be always bothering about one's secret 
in it. " Who has time for it ? " I have said. 
" Give it out. Move right on living. Get 
another." The only way for a man in this 
twentieth century to hide his soul is by letting 
it reach out of sight. Not by locks, nor by 
stiflings, nor by mean little economizings of 
the heart does a man earn a world for a com- 
rade. Let the laughers laugh. On the great 
still street in space where souls are, who 
cares ? 

Sec Ylext 

2 5 2 

SLost Hrt of 



Compelled as I am, as most of us are, to wit- 
ness the unhappy spectacle, in every city of the 
land, of a great mass of unfortunate and muti- 
lated persons whirled round and round in rows, 
in huge reading-machines, being crunched and 
educated, it is very hard not to rush thought- 
lessly in to the rescue sometimes, even if one 
has nothing better than such a pitiful, helpless 
thing as good advice. 

I am afraid it does not look very wise to do 
it. Civilisation is such a vast, hypnotising, 
polarising spectacle, has the stage so fully to 
itself, everybody's eyes glued on it, it is hard 
to get up and say what one thinks in it. One 
cannot find anything equally objective to say 
it with. One feels as if calling attention to 
one's self, to the little, private, shabby theatre 
of one's own mind. It is as if in a great theatre 
(on a back seat in it) one were to get up and 
stand in his chair and get the audience to 
turn round, and say, " L,adies and gentlemen. 
That is not the stage, with the foot-lights over 
there. This is the stage, here where I am. 
Now watch me twirl my thumbs." 

But the great spectacle of the universal 
reading-machine is too much for me. Before 
I know it I try to get the audience to turn 



The spectacle of even a single lad, in his 
more impressionable and possible years, read- 
ing a book whether he has anything to do with 
it or not, in spite of the author and in spite of 
himself, when one considers how many books 
he might read which really belong to him, is 
enough to make a mere reformer or outlaw or 
parent-interferer of any man who is compelled 
to witness it. 

But it seems that the only way to interfere 
with one of these great reading-machines is to 
stop the machine. One would say theoretically 
that it would not take very much to stop it a 
mere broken thread of thought would do it, if 
the machine had any provision for thoughts. 
As it is, one can only stand outside, watch it 
through the window, and do what all outsiders 
are obliged to do, shout into the din a little 
good advice. If this good advice were to be 
summed up in a principle or prepared for a 
text-book it would be something like this: 

The whole theory of our prevailing education 
is a kind of unanimous, colossal, " I can't," 
"You can't"; chorus, "We all of us to- 
gether can't." The working principle of pub- 
lic-school education, all the way from its biggest 
superintendents or overseers down to its littlest 
tow-heads in the primary rooms, is a huge, 
overbearing, overwhelming system of not ex- 
pecting anything of anybody. Kverything is 
arranged throughout with reference to not-ex- 
pecting, and the more perfectly a system works 


254 Xost Hrt of 1Rea&in0 

Eclipse without expecting, or needing to expect, the 
more successful it is represented to be. The 
public does not expect anything of the poli- 
ticians. The politicians do not expect anything 
of the superintendents. The superintendents 
do not expect anything of the teachers, and 
the teachers do not expect anything of the 
pupils, and the pupils do not expect anything 
of themselves. That is to say, the whole edu- 
cational world is upside down, so perfectly 
and regularly and faultlessly upside down that 
it is almost hopeful. All one needs to do is to 
turn it accurately and carefully over at every 
point and it will work wonderfully. 

To turn it upside down, have teachers that 
believe something. 



When it was decreed in the course of the 
nineteenth century that the educational world 
should pass over from the emphasis of persons 
to the emphasis of things, it was decreed that a 
generation that could not emphasise persons 
in its knowledge could not know persons. A 
generation which knows things and does not 
know persons naturally believes in things more 
than it believes in persons. 

Even an educator who is as forward-looking 
and open to human nature as President Charles 



F. Thwing, with all his emphasis of knowing 
persons and believing in persons as a basis for 
educational work, seems to some of us to give 
an essentially unbelieving and pessimistic 
classification of human nature for the use of 

" Early education," says President Thwing, 
1 1 occupies itself with description (geometry, 
space, arithmetic, time, science, the world of 
nature). L,ater education with comparison 
and relations." If one asks, " Why not both 
together ? Why learn facts at one time and 
their relations at another ? Is it not the most 
vital possible way to learn facts to learn them 
in their relations ? " the answer that would be 
generally made reveals that most teachers are 
pessimists, that they have very small faith in 
what can be expected of the youngest pupils. 
The theory is that interpretative minds must 
not be expected of them. Some of us find it 
very hard to believe as little as this, in any 
child. Most children have such an incorrigible 
tendency for putting things together that they 
even put them together wrong rather than not 
put them together at all. Under existing edu- 
cational conditions a child is more of a philos- 
opher at six than he is at twenty-six. 

The third stage of education for which Dr. 
Thwing partitions off the human mind is the 
"stage in which a pupil becomes capable of 
original research, a discoverer of facts and re- 
lations" himself. In theory this means that 


2 5 6 

OLost Hrt of 

when a man is thirty years old and all possible 
habits of originality have been trained out of 
him, he should be allowed to be original. In 
practice it means removing a man's brain for 
thirty years and then telling him he can think. 
There never has been a live boy in a school as 
yet that would allow himself to be educated in 
this way if he could help it. All the daily 
habits of his mind resent it. It is a pessi- 
mistic, postponing way of educating him. It 
does not believe in him enough. It may be true 
of men in the bulk, men by the five thousand, 
that their intellectual processes happen along in 
this conveniently scientific fashion, at least as 
regards emphasis, but when it is applied to any 
individual mind, at any particular time, in 
actual education, it is found that it is not true, 
that it is pessimistic. God is not so monoto- 
nous and the universe is not graded as accu- 
rately as a public school, and things are much 
more delightfully mixed up. If a great uni- 
versity were to give itself whole-heartedly and 
pointedly to one single individual student, it 
would find it both convenient and pleasant and 
natural and necessary to let him follow these 
three stages all at once, in one stage with one 
set of things, and in another stage with another. 
Everyone admits that the first thing a genius 
does with such a convenient, three-part sys- 
tem, or chart for a soul, is to knock it endwise. 
He does it because he can. Others would if 
they could. He insists from his earliest days 



on doing all three parts, everything, one set 
of things after the other description, compari- 
son, creation, and original research sometimes 
all at once. He learns even words all ways at 
once. All of these processes are applied to each 
thing that a genius learns in his life, not the 
three parts of his life. One might as well say 
to a child, " Now, dear little lad, your life is 
going to be made up of eating, sleeping, and 
living. You must get your eating all done up 
now, these first ten years, and then you can 
get your sleeping done up, and then you can 
take a spell at living or putting things to- 

The first axiom of true pedagogics is that 
nothing can be taught except the outside or 
letter of a thing. The second axiom is that 
there is nothing gained in teaching a pupil the 
outside of a thing if he has not the inside 
the spirit or relations of it. Teachers do not 
dare to believe this. They think it is true 
only of men of genius. They admit that men 
of genius can be educated through the inside 
or by calling out the spirit, by drawing out 
their powers of originality from the first, but 
they argue that with common pupils this pro- 
cess should not be allowed. They are not 
worthy of it. That is to say, the more ordinary 
men are and the more they need brains, the 
less they shall be allowed to have them. 

Inasmuch, then, as the inside cannot be 
taught and there is no object in teaching the 



Xost Hrt ot 

Eclipse outside, the question remains how to get the 
right inside at work producing the right out- 
side.* This is a purely spiritual question and 
brings us to the third axiom. Every human 
being born into the world is entitled to a special 
study and a special answer all to himself. If, 
as President Thwing very truly says, ''The 
higher education as well as the lower is to be 
organised about the unit of the individual stu- 
dent, ' ' what follows ? The organisation must 
be such as to make it possible for every teacher 
to study and serve each individual student as a 
special being by himself. In other words, if 
this last statement of Dr. Tbwing's is to be 
acted on, it makes havoc with his first. It re- 
quires a somewhat new and practically revo- 
lutionary organisation in education. It will 
be an organisation which takes for its basic 
principle something like this: 

Viz.: The very essence of an average pupil 
is that he needs to be studied more, not less, 
than any one else in order to find his master- 
key, the master-passion to open his soul with. 
The essence of a genius is that almost any one 
of a dozen passions can be made the motive 
power of his learning. His soul is opening 
somewhere all the time. 

The less individuality a student has, the 
more he is like other students, the more he 
should be kept away from other students until 
what little individuality he has has been 
brought out. It is not only equally true of the 

Eclipse 259 

ordinary man as well as of the man of genius Eclipse 
that he must educate himself, but it is more 
true. Other people's knowledge can be poured 
into and poured over a genius innocently 
enough. It rolls off him like water on a duck's 
back. Even if it gets in, he organically pro- 
tects himself. The genius of the ordinary man 
needs special protection made for it. As our 
educational institutions are arranged at pre- 
sent, the more commonplace our students are 
the more we herd them together to make them 
more commonplace. That is, we do not be- 
lieve in them enough. We believe that they 
are commonplace through and through, and 
that nothing can be done about it. We admit, 
after a little intellectual struggle, that a genius 
(who is bound to be an individual anyway) 
should be treated as one, but a common boy, 
whose individuality can only be brought out by 
his being very vigorously and constantly re- 
minded of it, and exercised in it, is dropped 
altogether as an individual, is put into a herd 
of other common boys, and his last remaining 
chance of being anybody is irrevocably cut off. 
We do not believe in him as an individual. 
He is a fraction of a roomful. He is a 6yth or 
734th of something. Some one has said that the 
problem of education is getting to be, How can 
we give, in our huge learning-machines, our ex- 
ceptional students more of a chance ? I state a 
greater problem : How can we give our common 
students a chance to be exceptional ones ? 


OLost Hrt of 


The problem can only be solved by teachers 
who believe something, who believe that there 
is some common ground, some spiritual law of 
junction, between the man of genius, the nat- 
ural or free man, and the cramped, z. <?., arti- 
ficial, ordinary one. It would be hard to name 
any more important proposition for current 
education to act on than this, that the nat- 
ural man in this world is the man of genius. 
The Church has had to learn that religion does 
not consist in being unnatural. The schools 
are next to learn that the man of genius is 
not unnatural. He is what nature intended 
every man to be, at the point where his genius 
lies. The way out in education, the only be- 
lieving, virile, man's way out, would seem to 
be to begin with the man of genius as a prin- 
ciple and work out the application of the 
principle to more ordinary men men of slowed- 
down genius. We are going to use the same 
methods faster or slower for both. A child's 
greater genius lies in his having a more lively 
sense of relation with more things than other 
children. Teachers are going to believe that 
if the right thing can be done about it, this 
sense of a live relation to knowledge can be 
uncovered in every human soul, that there 
is a certain sense in which every man is his 
own genius. " By education," said Helvetius, 
" you can make bears dance, but never create 
a man of genius." The first thing for a 
teacher who believes this to do, is not to teach. 





There is a spirit in this book, struggling 
down underneath it, which neither I nor any 
other man shall ever express. It needs a na- 
tion to express it, a nation fearless to know 
itself, a great, joyous, trustful, expectant na- 
tion. The centuries break away. I almost 
see it now, lifting itself in its plains and hills 
and fields and cities, in its smoke and cloud- 
land, as on some huge altar, to supreme destiny, 
a nation freed before heaven by the mighty, 
daily, childlike joy of its own life. I see it as 
a nation full of personalities, full of self-con- 
tained, normally self-centred, self-delighted, 
self-poised men men of genius, men who bal- 
ance off with a world, men who are capable of 
being at will magnificently self-conscious or 
unconscious, self-possessed and self- forgetful 
balanced men, comrades and equals of a world, 
neither its slaves nor its masters. 

I have said I will not have a faith that I 
have to get to with a trap-door. I have said 
that inspiration is for everybody. I have had 
inspiration myself and I will not clang down a 
door above my soul and believe that God has 
given to me or to any one else what only a few 
can have. I do not want anything, I will not 
have anything that any one cannot have. If 
there is one thing rather than another that 



%ost Hrt ot 


inspiration is for, it is that when I have it I 
know that any man can have it. It is neces- 
sary to my selfishness that he shall have it. If 
a great wonder of a world like this is given to 
a man, and he is told to live on it and it is not 
furnished with men to live with, with men that 
go with it, what is it all for? If one could 
have one's choice in being damned there would 
be no way that would be quite so quick and 
effective as having inspirations that were so 
little inspired as to make one suppose they 
v:ere merely for one's self or for a few others. 
The only way to save one's soul or to keep a 
corner for God in it is to believe that He is a 
kind of God who has put inspiration in every 
man. All that has to be done with it, is to get 
him to stop smothering it. 

Inspiration, instead of being an act of going 
to work in a minute, living a few hundred 
years at once, an act of making up and creating 
a new and wonderful soul for one's self, con- 
sists in the act of lifting off the lid from the 
one one has. The mere fact that the man ex- 
ists who has had both experiences, not having 
inspiration and having it, gives a basis for 
knowledge of what inspiration is. A man who 
has never had anything except inspiration can- 
not tell us what it is, and a man who has never 
had it cannot tell us what it is; but a man who 
has had both of these experiences (which is 
the case with most of us) constitutes a cross- 
section of the subject, a symbol of hope for 



every one. All who have had not- inspirations 
and inspirations both know that the origin 
and control and habit of inspiration, are all of 
such a character as to suggest that it is the 
common property of all men. All that is 
necessary is to have true educators or promot- 
ers, men who furnish the conditions in which 
the common property can be got at. 

The only difference between men of genius 
men of genius who know it and other men 
men of genius who don't know it is that the 
men of genius who know it have discovered 
themselves, have such a headlong habit of self- 
joy in them, have tasted their self-joys so 
deeply, that they are bound to get at them 
whether the conditions are favourable or not. 
The great fact about the ordinary man's genius, 
which the educational world has next to reckon 
with, is that there are not so many places to 
uncover it. The ordinary man at first, or until 
he gets the appetite started, is more particular 
about the conditions. 

It is because a man of genius is more thor- 
ough with the genius he has, more spiritual 
and wilful with it than other men, that he 
grows great. A man's genius is always at bot- 
tom religious, at the point where it is genius, 
a worshipping toward something, a worship- 
ping toward something until he gets it, a su- 
preme covetousness for God, for being a God. 
It is a faith in him, a sense of identity and shar- 
ing with what seems to be above and outside, 


26 4 

3Lost Hrt of 


a sense of his own latent infinity. I have said 
that all that real teaching is for, is to say to 
a man, in countless ways, a countless " You 
can." And I have said that all real learning 
is for is to say "I can." When we have 
enough great " I can's," there will be a great 
society or nation, a glorious " We can " rising 
to heaven. This is the ideal that hovers over 
all real teaching and makes it deathless, fer- 
tile for ever. 

If the world could be stopped short for ten 
years in its dull, sullen round of not believing 
in itself, if it could be allowed to have, all of 
it, all over, even for three days, the great 
solemn joy of letting itself go, it would not be 
caught falling back very soon, I think, into 
its stupor of cowardice. It would not be the 
same world for three hundred years. All that 
it is going to require to get all people to feel 
that they are inspired is some one who is strong 
enough to lift a few people off of themselves 
get the idea started. Every man is so busy 
nowadays keeping himself, as he thinks, prop- 
erly smothered, that he has not the slightest 
idea of what is really inside him, or of what 
the thing that is really inside him would do with 
him, if he would give it a chance. Any man 
who has had the experience of not having in- 
spiration and the experience of having it both 
knows that it is the sense of striking down 
through, of having the lid of one's smaller 
consciousness lifted off. In the long run his 



inspiration can be had or not as he wills. He 
knows that it is the supreme reasonableness in 
him, the primeval, underlying naturalness in 
him, rising to its rights. What he feels when 
he is inspired is that the larger laws, the laws 
above the other laws, have taken hold of him. 
He knows that the one law of inspiration is 
that a man shall have the freedom of himself. 
Most problems and worries are based on de- 
fective, uninvoked functions. Some organ, 
vision, taste, or feeling or instinct is not allowed 
its vent, its chance to qualify. Something 
needs lifting away. The common experience 
of sleeping things off, or walking or working 
them off, is the daily symbol of inspiration. 
More often than not a worry or trouble is 
moved entirely out of one's path by the sim- 
plest possible device, an intelligent or instinc- 
tive change of conditions. 

The fundamental heresy of modern educa- 
tion is that it does not believe this does not 
believe in making deliberate arrangements for 
the originality of the average man. It does 
not see that the extraordinary man is simply 
the ordinary man keyed-up, writ large or mov- 
ing more rapidly. What the average man is 
now, the great men were once. When we be- 
gin to understand that a man of genius is not 
supernatural, that he is simply more natural 
than the rest of us, that all the things that are 
true for him are true for us, except that they 
are true more slowly, the educational world 


2 66 

SLost Hrt of 


will be a new world. The very essence of the 
creative power of a man of genius over other 
men, is that he believes in them more than 
they do. He writes, paints, or sings as if all 
other men were men of genius, and he keeps 
on doing it until they are. All modern human 
nature is annexed genius. The whole world 
is a great gallery of things, that men of genius 
have seen, until they make other men see them 
too, and prove that other men can see them. 
What one man sees with travail or by being 
born again, whole generations see at last with- 
out trying, and when they are born the first 
time. The great cosmic process is going on 
in the human spirit. Ages flow down from 
the stars upon it. No one man shall guess, 
now or ever, what a man is, what a man shall 
be. But it is to be noticed that when the world 
gets its greatest man the One who guesses 
most, generations are born and die to know 
Him, all with awe and gentleness in their 
hearts. One after the other as they wheel up to 
the Great Sun to live, they call Him the Son 
of God because He thought everybody was. 

The main difference between a great man 
and a little one is a matter of time. If the little 
man could keep his organs going, could keep 
on experiencing, acting, and reacting on things 
for four thousand years, he would have no 
difficulty in being as great as some men are in 
their threescore and ten. All genius is in- 
herited time and space. The imagination, 



which is the psychological substitute for time 
and space, is a fundamental element in all 
great power, because, being able to reach 
results without pacing off the processes, it 
makes it possible for a man to crowd more 
experience in, and be great in a shorter 

The idea of educating the little man in the 
same way as the great man, from the inside, 
or by drawing out his originality, meets with 
many objections. It is objected that inas- 
much as no little men could be made into 
great men in the time allotted, there would be 
no object in trying to do it, and no result to 
show for it in the world, except row after row 
of spoiled little men, drearily waiting to die. 
The answer to this is the simple assertion that 
if a quart-cup is full it is the utmost a quart- 
cup can expect. A hogshead can do no more. 
So far as the man himself is concerned, if he 
has five sound, real senses in him, all of them 
acting and reacting on real things, if he is alive, 
i. e. , sincere through and through, he is edu- 
cated. True education must always consist, 
not in how much a man has, but in the way 
he feels about what he has. The kingdom 
of heaven is on the inside of his five senses. 



Hrt of 

/IDan Dis 



fIDan Ibis wn (Senius 

I do not mean by the man of genius in this 
connection the great man of genius, who takes 
hold of his ancestors to live, rakes centuries 
into his life, burns up the phosphorus of ten 
generations in fifty years, and with giant 
masterpieces takes leave of the world at last, 
bringing his family to a full stop in a blaze of 
glory, and a spindling child or so. I am merely 
contending for the principle that the extraord- 
inary or inspired man is the normal man (at the 
point where he is inspired) and that the ordi- 
nary or uninspired boy can be made like him, 
must be educated like him, led out through 
his self-delight to truth, that, if anything, the 
ordinary or uninspired boy needs to be edu- 
cated like a genius more than a genius does. 

I know of a country house which reminds 
me of the kind of mind I would like to have. 
In the first place, it is a house that grew. It 
could not possibly have been thought of all at 
once. In the second place, it grew itself. 
Half inspiration and half common-sense, with 
its mistakes and its delights all in it, glori- 
ously, frankly, it blundered into being, seven 
generations tumbled on its floors, filled it 
with laughter and love and tears. One felt 
that every life that had come to it had written 
itself on its walls, that the old house had 

/iDan Ibis wn (Benius 


broken out in a new place for it, full of new 
little joys everywhere, and jogs and bays and fl ^* {8 
afterthoughts and forethoughts, old roofs and oenhw 
young ones chumming together, and old chim- 
neys (three to start with and four new ones 
that came when they got ready). Kverything 
about it touched the heart and said something. 
I have never managed to see it yet, whether in 
sunlight, cloud-light, or starlight, or the light 
of its own lamps, but that it stood and spoke. 
It is a house that has genius. The genius of 
the earth and the sky around it are all in it, 
of motherhood, of old age, and of little children. 
It grew out of a spirit, a loving, eager, putting- 
together, a making of relations between things 
that were apart, the portrait of a family. It is 
a very beautiful, eloquent house, and hundreds 
of nights on the white road have I passed it by, 
in my lonely walk, and stopped and listened to 
it, standing there in its lights, like a kind of 
low singing in the trees, and when I have come 
home, later, on the white road, and the lights 
were all put out, I still feel it speaking there, 
faint against heaven, with all its sleep, its 
young and old sleep, its memories and hopes 
of birth and death, lifting itself in the night, a 
prayer of generations. 

Many people do not care for it very much. 
They would wonder that I should like a mind 
like it. It is a wandering-around kind of a 
house, has thirty outside doors. If one 
does n't like it, it is easy to get out (which is 


Xost Hrt of IReafcing 


fl&an fbis 



just what I like in a mind). Stairways almost 
anywhere, only one or two places in the whole 
building where there is not a piazza, and every 
inch of piazza has steps down to the grass and 
there are no walks. A great central fireplace, 
big as a room, little groups of rooms that keep 
coming on one like surprises, and little groups 
of houses around outside that have sprung up 
out of the ground themselves. A flower gar- 
den that thought of itself and looks as if it took 
care of itself (but does n't). Everything ex- 
uberant and hospitable and free on every side 
and full of play, a high stillness and serious- 
ness over all. 

I cannot quite say what it is, but most 
country houses look to me as if they had for- 
gotten they were really outdoors, in a great, 
wide, free, happy place, where winds and suns 
run things, where not even God says nay, and 
everything lives by its inner law, in the pres- 
ence of the others, exults in its own joy and 
plays with God. Most country homes forget 
this. They look like little isles of glare and 
showing off, and human joylessness, dotting 
the earth. People's minds in the houses are 
like the houses : they reek with propriety. 
That is, they are all abnormal, foreign to the 
spirit, to the passion of self-delight, of life, of 
genius. Most of them are fairly hostile to gen- 
ius or look at it with a lorgnette. 

I like to think that if the principles and 
habits of freedom that result in genius were to 

/iDan fbis wn Genius 


be gauged and adjusted toward bringing out 
the genius of ordinary men, they would result 
in the following: 

Recipe to make a great man (or a live small 
one): Let him be made like a great work of 
art. In general, follow the rule in Genesis i. 

1. Chaos. 

2. Enough Chaos; that is, enough kinds of 
Chaos. Pouring all the several parts of Chaos 
upon the other parts of Chaos. 

3. Watch to see what emerges and what it is 
in the Chaos that most belongs to all the rest, 
what is the Unifying Principle. 

4. Fertilise the Chaos. Let it be impreg- 
nated with desire, will, purpose, personality. 

5. When the Unifying Principle is dis- 
covered, refrain from trying to force every- 
thing to attach itself to it. Let things attach 
themselves in their way as they are sure to do 
in due time and grow upon it. Let the mind 
be trusted. Let it not be always ordered 
around, thrust into, or meddled with. The 
making of a man, like the making of a work of 
art, consists in giving the nature of things a 
chance, keeping them open to the sun and air 
and the springs of thought. The first person 
who ever said to man, " You press the button 
and I will do the rest," was God. 

The emphasis of art in our modern educa- 
tion, of the knack or science or how of things, 
is to be followed next by the emphasis of the 
art that conceals art, genius, the norm and 


A)an Die 




Xost Hrt of 



climax of human ability. Any finishing-school 
girl can out-sonnet Keats. The study of ap- 
pearances, the passion for the outside has run 
its course. The next thing in education is 
going to be honesty, fearless naturalness, up- 
heaval, the freedom of self, self-expectancy, 
all-expectancy, and the passion for possessing 
real things. The personalities, persons with 
genius, persons with free-working, uncramped 
minds, are all there, ready and waiting, both 
in teachers and pupils, all growing sub rasa, 
and the main thing that is left to do is to lift 
the great roof of machinery off and let them 
come up. The days are already upon us when 
education shall be taken out of the hands of 
anaemic, abstracted men men who go into 
everything theory-end first. There is already 
a new atmosphere in the educated world. The 
thing that shall be taught shall be the love of 
swinging out, of swinging up to the light and 
the air. I^et every man live, the world says 
next, a little less with his outside, with his 
mere brain or logic-stitching machine. I/et 
him swear by his instincts more, and live with 
his medulla oblongata. 


Hn flnciinefc plane 

; ' This is a very pleasant and profitable ideal 
you have printed in this book, but teachers and 

Hn Unclinefc plane 


pupils and institutions being what they are, it 
is not practical and nothing can be done about 
it," it is objected. 


1. There is nothing so practical as an ideal, 
for if through his personality and imagination 
a man can be made to see an ideal, the ideal 
does itself; that is, it takes hold of him and in- 
spires him to do it and to find means for doing 
it. This is what has been aimed at in this 

2. The first and most practical thing to do 
with an ideal is to believe it. 

3. The next most practical thing is to act 
as if one believed it. This makes other peo- 
ple believe it. To act as if one believed an 
ideal is to be literal with it, to assume that it 
can be made real, that something some next 
thing can be done with it, 

4. It is only people who believe an ideal who 
can make it practical. Educators who think 
that an ideal is true and who do not think it is 
practical do not think it is true, do not really 
know it. The process of knowing an ideal, of 
realising it with the mind, is the process of 
knowing that it can be made real. This is 
what makes it an ideal, that it is capable of be- 
coming real, and if a man does not realise an 
ideal, cannot make it real in his mind, it is not 
accurate for him to say that it is not practical. 
It is accurate for him to say that it is not prac- 




SLost Hrt of IReafcing 



tical to him. The ideal presented in this book 
is not presented as practical except to teachers 
who believe it. 

5. Every man has been given in this world, 
if he is allowed to get at them, two powers to 
make a man out of. These powers are Vision 
and Action, (i) Seeing, and (2) Being or 
Doing what one sees. What a man sees with, 
is quite generally called his imagination. 
What he does with what he sees, is called his 
character or personality. If it is true, as has 
been maintained in the whole trend of this 
book, that the most important means of educa- 
tion are imagination and personality, the power 
of seeing things and the power of living as if 
one saw them, imagination and personality 
must be accepted as the forces to teach with, 
and the things that must be taught. The per- 
sons who have imagination and personality in 
modern life must do the teaching. 

6. Parents and others who believe in imagin- 
ation and personality as the supreme energies 
of human knowledge and the means of educa- 
tion, and who have children they wish taught 
in this way, are going to make connections 
with such teachers and call on them to do it. 

7. Inasmuch as the best way to make an 
ideal that rests on persons practical is to find 
the persons, the next thing for persons who 
believe in an ideal to do is to find each other 
out. All persons, particularly teachers and 
parents, in their various communities and in 

Hn IFnclinefc plane 


the nation, who believe that the ideal is prac- 
tical in education should be social with their 
ideal, group themselves together, make them- 
selves known and felt. 

8. Some of us are going to act through the 
schools we have. We are going to make room 
in our present over-managed, morbidly organ- 
ised institutions, with ordered-around teachers, 
for teachers who cannot be ordered around, 
who are accustomed to use their imaginations 
and personalities to teach with, instead of 
superintendents. We are going to have super- 
intendents who will desire such teachers. The 
reason that our over-organised and over-super- 
intended schools and colleges cannot get the 
teachers they want, to carry out their ideals, 
is a natural one enough. The moment ideal 
teachers are secured it is found that they have 
ideals of their own and that they will not teach 
without them. When vital and free teachers 
are attracted to the schools and allowed fair 
conditions there, they will soon crowd others 
out. The moment we arrange to give good 
teachers a chance good teachers will be had. 

9. Others will find it best to act in another 
way. Instead of reforming schools from the 
inside, they are going to attack the problem 
from the outside, start new schools which shall 
stand for live principles and outlive the others. 
As good teachers can arrange better conditions 
for themselves to teach in their own schools, 
wherever practicable this would seem to be the 




Xost Hrt ot TReaDlng 



better way. They are going to organise col- 
leges of their own. They are going to organ- 
ise unorganised colleges (for such they would 
be called at first), assemblings of inspired 
teachers, men grouping men about them each 
after his kind. 

Every one can begin somewhere. Teachers 
who are outside can begin outside and teachers 
who are within can begin within. Certainly 
if every teacher who believes something will 
believe deeply, will free himself, let himself 
out with his belief, act on it, the day is not 
long hence when the great host of ordered- 
around teachers with their ordered-around 
pupils will be a memory. Copying and ap- 
pearing to know will cease. Self-delight and 
genius will again be the habit of the minds of 
men and the days of our present poor, pale, 
fuddling, unbelieving, Simon-says-thumbs-up 
education will be numbered. 

Sometimes it seems as if this globe, this huge 
cyclorama of nations whirling in sunlight 
through stars, were a mere empty, mumbled 
repetition, a going round and round of the 
same stupendous stupidities and the same hero- 
isms in human life. One is always feeling as if 
everything, arts, architecture, cables, colleges, 
nations, had all almost literally happened before, 
in the ages dark to us, gone the same round of 
beginning, struggling, and ending. Then the 
globe was wiped clean and began again. 

Hllons 277 

One of the great advantages in emphasising Hiion0 
individuals, the main idea of this book, in 
picking out particular men as forces, centres 
of energy in society, as the basis for one's pro- 
gramme for human nature, is the sense it gives 
that things really can begin again begin any- 
where where a man is. One single human 
being, deeply believed in, glows up a world, 
casts a kind of speculative value, a divine wager 
over all the rest. I confess that most men I have 
seen seem to me phantasmagorically walking 
the earth, their lives haunting them, hanging 
intangibly about them indefinitely postponed. 
But one does not need, in order to have a true 
joyous working-theory of life, to believe ver- 
batim, every moment, in the mass of men as 
men. One needs to believe in them very 
much as possible men larvae of great men, 
and if, in the meantime, one can have (what 
is quite practicable) one sample to a square 
mile of what the mass of men in that mile 
might be, or are going to be, one comes to a 
considerable degree of enthusiasm, a working 
and sharing enthusiasm for all the rest. 



I thought when I began to make my little 
visit in civilisation this book that perhaps I 
ought to have a motto to visit a civilisation 

2 7 8 

Xost Hrt of 


with. So the motto I selected (a good one for 
all reformers, viewers of institutions and things) 
was, ' ' Do not shoot the organist. He is doing 
the best he can/' I fear I have not lived up 
to it. I am an optimist. I cannot believe he 
is doing the best he can. Before I know it, I get 
to hoping and scolding. I do not even believe 
he is enjoying it. Most of the people in civili- 
sation are not enjoying it. They are like peo- 
ple one sees on tally-hos. They are not really 
enjoying what they are doing. They enjoy 
thinking that other people think they are en- 
joying it. 

The great characteristic enthusiasm of mod- 
ern society, of civilisation, the fad of showing 
off, of exhibiting a life instead of living it, very 
largely comes, it is not too much to say, from 
the lack of normal egoism, of self-joy in civilised 
human beings. It has come over us like a kind 
of moral anaemia. People cannot get interested 
enough in anything to be interested in it by 
themselves. Hence no great art merely the 
art which is a trick or knack of appearance. 
We lack great art because we do not believe in 
great living. 

The emphasis which would seem to be most 
to the point in civilisation is that people must 
enjoy something, something of their very own, 
even if it is only their sins, if they can do no 
better, and they are their own. It would be 
a beginning. They could work out from that. 
They would get the idea. Some one has said 

Hlions 279 

that people repent of their sins because they 
did n't enjoy them as much as they expected 
to. Well, then, let them enjoy their repent- 
ance. The great point is, in this world, that 
men must get hold of reality somewhere, some- 
how, get the feel, the bare feel of living before 
they try dying. Most of us seem to think we 
ought to do them both up together. It is to 
be admitted that people might not do really 
better things for their own joy, than for other 
people's, but they would do them better. It 
is not the object of this book to reform people. 
Reformers are sinners enjoying their own sins, 
who try to keep other people from enjoying 
theirs. The object of this book is to inspire 
people to enjoy anything, to find a principle 
that underlies right and wrong both. Let 
people enjoy their sins, we say, if they really 
know how to enj oy . The more they get the idea 
of enjoying anything, the more vitally and sin- 
cerely they will run their course turn around 
and enjoy something truer and more lasting. 
What we all feel, what every man feels is, that 
he has a personal need of daring and happy 
people around him, people that are selfish 
enough to be alive and worth while, people 
that have the habit and conviction of joy, 
whose joys whether they are wrong or right 
are real joys to them, not shadows or shows of 
joys, joys that melt away when no one is 

The main difficulty in the present juncture 


Olost Hrt of 

of the world in writing on the I^ost Art of 
Reading is that all the other arts are lost, the 
great self-delights. As they have all been lost 
together, it has been necessary to go after them 
together, to seek some way of securing condi- 
tions for the artist, the enjoy er and prophet of 
human life, in our modern time. At the bot- 
tom of all great art, it is necessary to believe, 
there has been great, believing, free, beautiful 
living. This is not saying that inconsistency, 
contradiction, and insincerity have not played 
their part, but it is the benediction, the great 
Amen of the world, to say this, that if there 
has been great constructive work there has been 
great radiant, unconquerable, constructive liv- 
ing behind it. There is but one way to recover 
the lost art of reading. It is to recover the lost 
art of living. The day we begin to take the 
liberty of living our own lives there will be art- 
ists and seers everywhere. We will all be art- 
ists and seers, and great arts, great books, and 
great readers of books will flock to us. 

Well, here we are, Gentle Reader. We are 
rounding the corner of the last paragraph. 
Time stretches out before us. On the great 
highroad we stand together in the dawn I 
with my little book in hand, you, perhaps, 
with yours. The white road reaches away be- 
fore us, behind us. There are cross-roads. 
There are parallels, too. Sometimes when 
there falls a clearness on the air, they are 



nearer than I thought. I hear crowds trudg- 
ing on them in the dark, singing faintly. I 
hear them cheering in the dark. 

But this is my way, right here. See the hill 
there ? That is my next one. The sun in a 
minute. You are going my way, comrade? 
. . . You are not going my way ? So be 
it. God be with you. The top o' the morning 
to you. I pass on. 


Shelburne Essays 

By Paul Elmer More 

4 vois. Crown octavo. 
Sold separately. Net, $1.25. (By mail, $1.35) 


FIRST SERIES : A Hermit's Notes on Thoreau The Soli- 
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siasm I have felt, in gloating over every page of what I believe is the 
most brilliant book of any season since Carlyle's and Emerson's pens 
were laid aside. It is full of humor, rich in style, and eccentric in form, 
and all suffused with the perfervid genius of a man who is not merely a 
thinker but a force. Every sentence is tinglingly alive. . . . 

" I have been reading with wonder and laughter and with loud cheers. 
It is the word of all words that needed to be spoken just now. It makes 
me believe that after all we have n't a great kindergarten about us in au- 
thorship, but that there is virtue, race, sap in us yet. I can conceive 
that the date of the publication of this book may well be the date of the 
moral and intellectual renaissance for which we have long been scanning 
the horizon." WM. SLOANE KENNEDY in. Boston Transcript. 


(Mount Tom Press, Northampton, Mass.) $1.00 

" I have read it twice and enjoyed it the second time even more than 
the first." Oliver Wendell Holmes. 

" I read the preface, and that one little bite out of the crust made me as 
hungry as a man on a railroad. What a bright evening full of laughter, 
touched every now and then with tenderness, it made for us I do not 
know how to tell. Here is a book I am glad to indorse as I would a 
t across the face and present it for payment in any man's 
. Burdette. 


(THE CENTURY CO-) $1.25 

" Let me be one of the first to recognize in this book what every man 
who reads it thoughtfully will feet. Heaps of the books that have 
been written about the Bible are desiccated to the last grain of their dust. 
They are the desert which lies around Palestine. Now and then a man 
appears who makes his way straight into the Promised Land, by sea if 
necessary, and takes you with him. It is not meant to be a full, precise 
treatment of the subject. It is history seen in a vision. Theology ex- 
pressed in H lyric. Criticism condensed into an epigram." Dr. Henry 
van Dyk'e^ in The Book Buyer. 

" The author's name Gerald Stanley Lee has been hitherto unknown 
to us in England, but the book he has here offered to the world indicates 
that he has that in him which will soon make it familiar." The Christ- 
ian World (.London.) 


An All-Outdoors Magazine. 

Devoted to Rest and Worship and to a Little Look-off on the World. 

Every other month. 12 issues $1.00 Mt. Tom Press, Northampton, Mass. 

The Voice of the Machines 

An Introduction to The Twentieth Century 
Mount Tom Press, Northampton, Mass., $1.25 





AUG 12 19*3 


DEC 2 1957 

LD 21-100m-7,'39(402s)